Coulthard holds off Brown to win wild TCR Race 3

Fabian Coulthard. Picture: Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series

Fabian Coulthard has held off 2019 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series title winner Will Brown to win Race 3 of Round 2 at Phillip Island.

Coulthard converted first on the grid into a second straight triumph in the hot hatch category but that statistic belies the wild nature of the 16-lap contest which brought a conclusion to the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships meeting.

Just 0.1495s separated the #24 Stan Sport Honda Civic Type R at the finish line from the #999 Audi RS 3 LMS which Brown had hauled from ninth on the grid.

Brown’s Melbourne Performance Centre team-mate Jay Hanson was in the thick of the action from the outset, and ultimately finished a lap down in 18th despite starting from the front row in the new-generation #9 Audi.

When the lights went out, Jordan Cox (Peugeot) got away smartly from the second row to make it a three-wide run to the first corner, with Coulthard in the squeeze between him and Hanson.

Contact on both front corners of the #24 Wall Racing Honda ensued, putting Hanson off the road and Cox nearly so, while Coulthard emerged in the race lead.

Ben Bargwanna (Peugeot) jumped from sixth on the grid to second position courtesy of a good launch and the seas parting ahead of him at Doohan Corner, with Dylan O’Keeffe (Peugeot) third from Tony D’Alberto (Honda), Zac Soutar (Honda), Michael Caruso (Alfa Romeo), Will Brown (Audi), Brad Shiels (Hyundai), and Aaron Cameron (Peugeot).

Hanson had fought his way from 13th back into the top 10 when he was off the road again at Southern Loop on Lap 4.

Replays suggested that contact with Cox as they ran up Gardner Straight just moments prior had caused a right-rear puncture which may have pitched Car #9 off the road at the next left-hander, and that incident is set to be investigated post-race.

A Safety Car was called on Lap 5 when Kody Garland spun off the road at high speed at Turn 12 after his Garry Rogers Motorsport Renault shed a wheel.

Coulthard thus lost most of what had grown to a one-second lead but still held sway over Bargwanna, O’Keeffe, D’Alberto, Brown, Caruso, Cox, Cameron, Soutar, and Bailey Sweeny (Hyundai), with Hanson back in the pits.

The restart came on Lap 9, with Brown wasting little time in passing D’Alberto through Southern Loop, and Cox forcing his way up to sixth at the Turn 4 Hairpin.

As it turned out, Brown was on a charge, overtaking O’Keeffe into Doohan Corner on Lap 10 and then Bargwanna at the same spot on Lap 12, after touching the grass as he ran up Gardner Straight.

Coulthard was a full second up the road at that point, but had his mirrors full of the #999 Audi in around a lap’s time.

Brown looked for a pass in several places but the Walkinshaw Andretti United co-driver was unmoved, and would double his tally of TCR race wins just hours after opening his account.

Bargwanna finished almost two seconds back in third, from O’Keeffe, D’Alberto, Cox, Caruso, Soutar, Sweeny, and Cameron.

Round 1 winner Josh Buchan got home in 14th from the rear of the 20-car grid in his Hyundai i30 N.

D’Alberto is the series leader, by a two-point margin over Cox, as the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia field gets ready for Round 3 at Mount Panorama.

That will take place as part of the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour event, on April 15-17, with live and ad-free coverage on Stan Sport.

Results: Race 3

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Laps Race time
1 24 Stan Sport Wall Racing Fabian Coulthard Honda Civic Type R 16 30:07.1782
2 999 MPC Team LIQUI MOLY William Brown Audi RS 3 16 30:07.3277
3 71 Burson Auto Parts Racing Ben Bargwanna Peugeot 308 TCR 16 30:08.9454
4 8 Schaeffler GRM Dylan O’Keeffe Peugeot 308 TCR 16 30:09.3969
5 50 Honda Wall Racing Tony D’Alberto Honda Civic Type R 16 30:11.4355
6 33 Swyftx GRM Jordan Cox Peugeot 308 TCR 16 30:11.8577
7 10 Ashley Seward Motorsport Michael Caruso Alfa Romeo Giulietta 16 30:12.3453
8 110 Team Soutar Motorsport Zac Soutar Honda Civic Type R 16 30:16.2861
9 130 HMO Customer Racing Bailey Sweeny Hyundai i30N 16 30:16.6047
10 18 Team Valvoline GRM Aaron Cameron Peugeot 308 TCR 16 30:17.0377
11 11 HMO Customer Racing Nathan Morcom Hyundai i30N 16 30:18.6237
12 333 Royal Purple Racing Brad Shiels Hyundai i30N 16 30:20.4525
13 34 LMCT+ Racing GRM James Moffat Renault Megane RS 16 30:21.0722
14 30 HMO Customer Racing Josh Buchan Hyundai i30N 16 30:21.4970
15 14 Purple Sector Lachlan Mineeff Volkswagen Golf GTI 16 30:23.9673
16 22 Melbourne Performance Centre Iain McDougall Audi RS 3 16 30:24.0723
17 97 Forza Brakes Motorsport Liam McAdam Audi RS 3 16 30:25.2138
18 9 AWC MPC Racing Jay Hanson Audi RS 3 15 30:19.6682
19 89 Braydan Willmington M’Sport Braydan Willmington Alfa Romeo Giulietta 15 30:28.6778
DNF 41 Valvoline Racing GRM Kody Garland Renault Megane RS 3 5:10.3135

Series points

Pos Driver Pts
1 Tony D’Alberto 224
2 Jordan Cox 222
3 Zac Soutar 201
4 Fabian Coulthard 198
5 Jay Hanson 188
6 William Brown 185
7 Dylan O’Keeffe 174
8 Nathan Morcom 170
9 Michael Caruso 165
10 Ben Bargwanna 155
11 Josh Buchan 151
12 Brad Shiels 150
13 Aaron Cameron 142
14 Bailey Sweeny 131
15 Braydan Willmington 125
16 Lachlan Mineeff 122
17 Liam McAdam 103
18 James Moffat 103
19 Iain McDougall 65
20 Eddie Maguire 58
21 Kody Garland 36
22 Michael Clemente 32

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