Caruso breaks through in chaotic Sydney TCR finale

Michael Caruso. Picture: Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series

Michael Caruso has become a Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series race winner in a chaotic Round 4 finale at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The #150 Garry Rogers Motorsport Alfa Romeo led all 11 laps which could be fitted into Race 3, after two Safety Car periods for early crashes.

It was a close-run thing in the two full green flag racing laps which closed out the race, Caruso initially coming under pressure from Josh Buchan before the Hyundai driver had to defend position to Dylan O’Keeffe (Renault).

That was the top three at the chequered flag, ahead of Nathan Morcom in the second HMO Customer Racing i30 N and James Moffat in the other GRM Renault.

UPDATE: O’Keeffe penalised for Safety Car restart breach (overlapping), classified 17th

Luke King finished sixth, one position ahead of Melbourne Performance Centre Audi team-mate Chaz Mostert, meaning those two close up slightly at the head of the series standings.

Caruso blazed into the early lead from the second row of the grid ahead of Buchan, who won Races 1 and 2, with Morcom taking up third and Mostert fourth.

However, Michael Clemente (Honda) had stalled on the grid and was hit by Jason Bargwanna (Peugeot), triggering a Safety Car before the first lap was out.

That was cleaned up in time for a restart on Lap 5, but precious little green flag running followed.

O’Keeffe went down the inside of Mostert into Moffat Corner (Turn 1) and James Moffat would go past the series leader also, to take fifth spot, as carnage unfolded behind.

King, who held seventh, moved left to avoid contact with Ben Bargwanna after getting a run on the #71 Peugeot through Turn 1.

However, that only resulted in a squeeze for space with Aaron Cameron and Lee Holdsworth (Alfa Romeo), sending the former’s Peugeot front-first into the concrete wall on drivers’ left, with the incident to be investigated post-race.

The second restart was initially to have come on Lap 9 but that was aborted due to Holdsworth stopping on track at the exit of the Turn 8 hairpin.

He got going and the race went back to green a lap later, at which time O’Keeffe nabbed third from Morcom into Moffat Corner.

Buchan put Caruso under big pressure which very nearly brought him unstuck at the start of the 11th and final lap, and the HMO pilot then had to look in his mirrors.

In the end, the front-runners would stay as they were, meaning Buchan missed out on a sweep but was joined by Caruso as a first-time TCR race winner this weekend.

Eighth through 10th at the finish of a race run under sunnier conditions than the morning’s foggy encounter were Jordan Cox (Alfa Romeo), Ben Bargwanna, and Tony D’Alberto (Honda).

John Martin (Honda) took 13th from a pit lane start after a pre-race radiator problem and Holdsworth did make the chequered flag, on the lead lap in 17th.

Round 5 takes place at Morgan Park, also on the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships bill, on June 25-27.

CLICK HERE to watch the Supercheap Auto Highlights of Race 3

Results: Race 3 Updated*

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Laps Race time
1 150 Valvoline Racing GRM Michael Caruso Alfa Romeo Giulietta 11 27:50.6886
2 30 HMO Customer Racing Josh Buchan Hyundai i30N 11 27:51.1282
3 11 HMO Customer Racing Nathan Morcom Hyundai i30N 11 27:51.5786
4 34 LMCT+ Racing GRM James Moffat Renault Megane RS 11 27:52.2685
5 2 MPC Moutai Racing Luke King Audi RS 3 11 27:53.1582
6 25 MPC Bostik Racing Chaz Mostert Audi RS 3 11 27:53.4064
7 5 Garry Rogers Motorsport Jordan Cox Alfa Romeo Giulietta 11 27:53.7457
8 71 Burson Auto Parts Racing Ben Bargwanna Peugeot 308 TCR 11 27:54.3652
9 50 Honda Wall Racing Tony D’Alberto Honda Civic Type R 11 27:54.9203
10 333 Tilton Racing Brad Shiels Hyundai i30N 11 27:55.5385
11 110 Team Soutar Motorsport Zac Soutar Honda Civic Type R 11 27:56.4959
12 24 Mobil 1 Wall Racing John Martin Honda Civic Type R 11 27:56.7931
13 130 HMO Customer Racing Duvashen Padayachee Hyundai i30N 11 27:57.5378
14 9 Ashley Seward Motorsport Jay Hanson Alfa Romeo Giulietta 11 27:57.8610
15 14 Purple Sector / Southern Star Lachlan Mineeff Volkswagen Golf GTI 11 27:58.1529
16 10 Ashley Seward Motorsport Lee Holdsworth Alfa Romeo Giulietta 11 27:58.3122
17 33 Lowbake Racing GRM Dylan O’Keeffe Renault Megane RS 11 28:01.2868
18 111 AH Racing Michael King Hyundai i30N 11 28:03.0512
19 37 MPC Astrontech Racing Chelsea Angelo Volkswagen Golf GTI 11 28:14.9250
DNF 155 Team Valvoline GRM Aaron Cameron Peugeot 308 TCR 4 10:46.1577
DNF 15 Michael Clemente Motorsport Michael Clemente Honda Civic Type R 1 3:11.8857
DNF 17 Burson Auto Parts Racing Jason Bargwanna Peugeot 308 TCR

* Car #33 10sec penalty, Car #37 15sec penalty

Series points

Pos Driver Pts
1 Chaz Mostert 452
2 Luke King 346
3 Josh Buchan 335
4 Nathan Morcom 327
5 Aaron Cameron 321
6 Lee Holdsworth 315
7 John Martin 308
8 Jordan Cox 302
9 Tony D’Alberto 290
10 Brad Shiels 266
11 Ben Bargwanna 259
12 James Moffat 258
13 Michael Caruso 238
14 Jason Bargwanna 236
15 Dylan O’Keeffe 229
16 Jay Hanson 216
17 Michael Clemente 198
18 Zac Soutar 182
19 Chelsea Angelo 134
20 Garth Tander 110
21 Lachlan Mineeff 109
22 Duvashen Padayachee 95
23 Liam McAdam 45
24 Michael King 38

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