Tander bounces back to win frantic TCR opener  

Garth Tander takes the win in Race 1

Garth Tander recovered from a mistake to claim a maiden TCR Australia win in a thrilling opener at The Bend Motorsport Park.

Tander claimed a first win for Audi in the series from championship leader Will Brown, who hauled his HMO Customer Racing Hyundai from 16th to second, while Aaron Cameron (Volkswagen) claimed third.

The race saw five drivers spend time in the lead with Tander moving to the head of the 19-car field in the early laps, but a mistake at Turn 11 on Lap 6 saw him drop to fourth.

However, the former Supercars full-timer picked off Brown, Jordan Cox (Wall Racing – Honda) and the slowing John Martin (Wall Racing – Honda) to claim the win.

Cox crossed the line in second but a 10 second penalty for an opening lap clash with pole-sitter James Moffat (Garry Rogers Motorsport – Renault) dropped him to seventh.   

There was drama before the race had started as light rain briefly fell moments before the formation lap with the entire field on slick Michelin tyres. 

The tricky conditions made for a frantic start as Moffat initially led the field into the Turn 1 but he soon came under attack and was passed by Tony D’Alberto, who started from second, at Turn 4.

Moments later D’Alberto spun out of the lead on his own at Turn 8, handing the advantage back to Moffat.

However, the action continued as Jordan Cox (Honda) made contact with the rear of Moffat, firing the Renault into the gravel trap on the exit of Turn 16.

As a result, Garth Tander (Audi) inherited the lead having started from fourth before the Safety Car was deployed to retrieve Moffat.

The race resumed with Tander leading from Cox, Cameron, Martin, while series leader Brown scythed his way from 16th to sixth.  

Tander quickly opened up a gap on Cox but all eyes were on third as Cameron ran wide at Turn 1, which dropped him to eighth.

Further back, Brown pounced to climb to third with Alex Rullo taking a short-lived fourth after dropping behind Martin, with smoke pouring from some loose bodywork on the rear of the Opel Astra.

Just when the race appeared to settle into a rhythm, Garth Tander surrendered the lead after running too deep at Turn 1, which saw the former Supercars star drop to fourth.

The mistake handed the lead to Cox, who was closely followed by Brown and Martin, but that was soon to change as the latter dived by to take second spot, Tander would follow the Honda shortly after.

The battle continued to rage at the front with Cox unable to hold on as Martin took the lead.

However, Tander surged back to the front where he stayed until the chequered flag, with Cox second, although eventually classified in seventh after the penalty.

Brown inherited second as Cameron took third, while a slowing Martin dropped to fourth, ahead of Nathan Morcom (HMO Customer racing) and Chris Pither (Garry Rogers Motorsport – Renault).

D’Alberto managed to recover to eighth in front of Moffat and Rullo, who rounded out the top 10, with Russell Ingall (Audi) just behind.

Meanwhile, Chelsea Angelo (Opel Astra) retired with a tyre blowout believed to have been triggered by contact. 

Angelo was joined on the sidelines by championship contender Dylan O’Keeffe (Alfa Romeo) and Jason Bright (Volkswagen), who also suffered tyre issues, while Andre Heimgartner (Subaru) stopped on track in the closing stages. 

The field will return for a further two 14 lap races on Sunday.

Stewards have since handed out penalties to Cameron and D’Alberto.

UPDATED Results: TCR Australia Race 1 – The Bend Motorsport Park

Pos Num Driver Team Car Laps Time
1   4 Garth Tander (Vic)      Melbourne Performance Centre Audi RS 3            12 27:52.7479
2 30 William Brown (Qld)     HMO Customer Racing            Hyundai i30N         12 27:53.7487
3 24 John Martin (NSW)       Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R 12 28:00.1778
4 11 Nathan Morcom (NSW)     HMO Customer Racing            Hyundai i30N         12 28:01.5733
5 33 Chris Pither (NZ)       Garry Rogers Motorsport        Renault Megane RS    12 28:02.2104
6 38 Jordan Cox (NSW)        Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R 12 28:02.9404
7 34 James Moffat (Vic)      Garry Rogers Motorsport        Renault Megane RS    12 28:15.6097
8 62 Alex Rullo (WA)         Kelly Racing                   Holden Astra         12 28:17.2174
9 100 Russell Ingall (Qld)    Melbourne Performance Centre Audi RS 3            12 28:20.7896
10 35 Alexandra Whitley (Qld) Alliance Autosport             Volkswagon Golf GTI 12 28:21.6509
11   3 Leanne Tander (Vic)     Melbourne Performance Centre Audi RS 3            12 28:21.9942
12   2 Aaron Cameron (Vic)     Melbourne Performance Centre Volkswagen Golf GTI 12 28:22.1324
13 50 Tony D’Alberto (Vic)    Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R 12 28:23.8285
14   7 Jimmy Vernon (NSW)      Garry Rogers Motorsport        Alfa Romeo Giulietta 12 28:24.5659
15   6 Molly Taylor (NSW)      Kelly Racing                   Subaru WRX STi       12 29:13.1600
DNF   8 Jason Bright (Vic)      Taskforce / Alliance Autosport Volkswagon Golf GTI 11 26:40.3498
DNF   9 Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)    Ashley Seward Motorsport       Alfa Romeo Giulietta 9 22:21.0849
DNF 777 Andre Heimgartner (NZ) Kelly Racing                   Subaru WRX STi       8 20:05.6327
DNF 37 Chelsea Angelo (Vic)    Kelly Racing                   Holden Astra         5 14:41.5306


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