Girolami steers clear of chaos to win TCR Aus Race 2

Nestor Girolami

Nestor Girolami avoided plenty of chaos behind to take a second victory in a twice interrupted TCR Australia Race 2 at Sandown.

The WTCR driver was one again largely unchallenged as he led home Garth Tander (Melbourne Performance Centre, Audi) and James Moffat (Garry Rogers Motorsport, Renault) in an action packed heat at the Melbourne circuit. 

Girolami made no mistakes from the start as he converted pole position into the lead while Jordan Cox slotted into second and John Martin (Wall Racing , Honda) jumped to third.

Series leader Will Brown bogged down at the start, dropping from second to sixth in the #30 HMO Customer Racing Hyundai. 

Moffat was among those to make a strong start to leap into fourth while Russell Ingall (Melbourne Performance Centre, Audi) found himself in seventh after starting from 12th.

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At the front, Cox soon latched onto the rear wing of Girolami while Ingall slid by Melbourne Performance Centre team-mate Garth Tander for sixth at Turn 6.

However, green flag racing was short-lived with the Safety Car deployed on Lap 3 after two separate incidents.     

Contact between Bryce Fullwood (Kelly Racing, Opel), and Nathan Morcom left the latter stranded in the Turn 9 gravel trap.

Moments later Ingall lost control of his Audi, spinning out of sixth and into the gravel trap at Turn 1.

Girolami was challenged by Cox when racing resumed on Lap 7, but the latter lost the rear and compromised himself for Turn 4, running across the grass on consecutive laps.    

The first occasion saw Cox lose second to Moffat while the second saw the Alfa Romeo driver rejoin the track and make side-to-side contact with Martin.

The touch forced the Honda driver to the pits and into retirement with a broken steering arm.

Officials neutralised the race again when Alexandra Whitley (Alliance Autosport, Volkswagen Golf, was stranded on the back straight.

Girolami nailed the restart but the same could not be said for Moffat who made an error at the final corner.

That allowed Tander to take second spot while Cox ran wide again at Turn 1.

Action continued until the final lap when Andre Heimgartner (Kelly Racing, Opel), in fifth, nudged Cox into a spin at Turn 4.

While there was plenty of action, Girolami cruised to the chequered flag ahead of Tander and Moffat.

Heimgartner came home in fourth ahead of Tony D’Alberto (Wall Racing, Honda), Aaron Cameron (Melbourne Performance Centre, Volkswagen) and Jason Bright (Alliance Autosport, Volkswagen).

After struggling for pace, Brown edged title rival Dylan O’Keeffe (Ash Seward Motorsport) for seventh at the finish as Fullwood and Liam McAdam (Melbourne Performance, Audi) rounded out the top 10.

Results: TCR Australia Race 2, Sandown

Pos Num Driver Team Car Laps Time
1    38 Nestor Girolami (ARG)   Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R   16 27:56.5831
2     3 Garth Tander (Vic)      Melbourne Performance Centre   Audi RS 3            16 27:58.1699
3    34 James Moffat (Vic)      Garry Rogers Motorsport        Renault Megane RS    16 28:00.6912
4    50 Tony D’Alberto (Vic)    Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R   16 28:02.7805
5     2 Aaron Cameron (Vic)     Melbourne Performance Centre   Volkswagen Golf GTI  16 28:03.8178
6     8 Jason Bright (Vic)      Taskforce/Melb Performance Cnt Volkswagon Golf GTI  16 28:04.2009
7    30 William Brown (Qld)     HMO Customer Racing            Hyundai i30N         16 28:04.4301
8     9 Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)    Ashley Seward Motorsport       Alfa Romeo Giulietta 16 28:05.7813
9    62 Bryce Fullwood (NT)     Kelly Racing                   Holden Astra         16 28:05.9880
10   97 Liam McAdam (Qld)       Melbourne Performance Centre   Audi RS 3            16 28:06.3126
11   33 Chris Pither (NZ)       Garry Rogers Motorsport        Renault Megane RS    16 28:12.2172
12  777 Andre Heimgartner (NZ)  Kelly Racing                   Holden Astra         16 28:32.2499
13    7 Jordan Cox (NSW)        Garry Rogers Motorsport        Alfa Romeo Giulietta 16 29:03.3031
14   11 Nathan Morcom (NSW)     HMO Customer Racing            Hyundai i30N         15 28:12.6142
DNF  24 John Martin (NSW)       Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R    8 14:54.7294
DNF  35 Alexandra Whitley (Qld) Melbourne Performance Centre   Volkswagon Golf GTI   8 15:00.1962
DNF 100 Russell Ingall (Qld)    Melbourne Performance Centre   Audi RS 3             2  2:46.7671

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