Johnson takes Tru-Blu back to Bathurst podium

Steven Johnson at The Mountain

Ryal Harris won the opening Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters championship race at Mount Panorama while the iconic Tru-Blu Ford Falcon returned to the Bathurst podium.

Harris inherited the lead after a puncture for then-race leader Ryan Hansford on Lap 5, with the former holding on to take the chequered flag first.

Making its first appearance at Mount Panorama this weekend, Tru-Blu 2, steered by Steven Johnson in the image of father Dick Johnson’s original car that conquered the 1981 Bathurst 1000, finished second after starting fourth.

At the start, Hansford had a clear run to the first corner as pole-sitter Adam Garwood was missing from the front row.

Jamie Tilley tipped sideways in the braking zone for Hell Corner spearing backward into the pack, but somehow everyone was able to avoid the Ford Mustang.

Hansford and Harris squabbled hard in the opening exchanges before the race settled down and Hansford retained his lead with Johnson in third.

With three laps remaining Harris sailed past Hansford for the race lead after the Holden Torana driver suffered the puncture and eventually stopped on track.

This also elevated Johnson to second and Cameron Mason onto the podium, that order remaining at the chequered flag.

Harris held on to win the first championship race of the weekend by 0.6s, while Marcus Zukanovic and John Bowe completed the top five.

TCM is back in action tomorrow at 08:25 AEDT for a second championship race, with the finale taking place from 13:05.

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