Harris, Hansford share hard-fought TCM victories

Ryal Harris and Marcus Zukanovic

Ryal Harris and Ryan Hansford split wins in a pair of thrilling Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters races at Mount Panorama.

During Race 2, Harris triumphed in a thrilling battle with Marcus Zukanovic in the closing stages.

Steven Johnson led early from the front row of the grid but the Chevrolet Camaro of Harris made a decisive pass at The Chase for the lead and created a gap.

Zukanovic then vaulted past Johnson and put pressure on Harris but ran wide at Griffins Bend allowing Harris the win.

Steven Johnson, who finished third, was disqualified from Race 2 for being underweight and had to start Race 3 from the back of the grid.

As the final race of the weekend got underway, Harris managed to out-brake Zukanovic into Hell Corner at the start but had to defend his lead from the XD Falcon into Griffins Bend before filling in front.

The XD Falcon of Zukanovic cleared Harris for the lead on Lap 3 heading up Mountain Straight before Hansford got by for second down Conrod Straight.

It became a four-car battle for the lead as Adam Garwood tagged onto the back attacking Harris while Hansford and Zukanovic squabbled hard.

After several attempts to get by, Hansford in his Holden Torana sailed around the outside of Zukanovic at The Chase before minor contact saw the latter lose momentum and drop to third.

Harris was dragged back into the intense fight which saw two further lead changes, with Hansford eventually pulling a gap out front on the last lap.

The margin in the end from race winner Hansford to Harris was 1.8s ahead of Zukanovic who just held off John Bowe.

Andrew Fisher completed the top five, while the Tru-Blu 2 Falcon of Johnson, who was on the podium in Race 1, limped home as a puncture halted his charge after making it up to sixth at one stage.

Round 3 for Touring Car Masters takes place at Sydney Motorsport Park from April 30-May 2.

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