Buchan smashes field to take Sydney TCR pole

Josh Buchan. Picture: Australian Racing Group

Josh Buchan has stamped his authority on Supercheap Auto TCR Australia proceedings at Sydney Motorsport Park, grabbing pole position by more than half a second.

The Hyundais were tipped to be the cars to beat, Buchan having dominated the 2021 round at Eastern Creek with two wins and a second-place finish.

He’s put himself in the box seat to repeat such success, having dipped into the 1:32s bracket in both segments of qualifying – something which no other TCR driver has managed at all this weekend.

Having led the way in the first 15-minute session on a 1:32.9248s, Buchan then went even quicker in Q2 to secure pole with a 1:32.6286s.

At that point in time, he held a margin of 0.6409s over Practice 2 pace-setter Will Brown, although the duo would soon enough by split by Buchan’s HMO Customer Racing team-mate Nathan Morcom, albeit still 0.5246s off top spot.

That would have made for an all-Hyundai front-row for TCR Australia’s first night race later today, but Morcom entered qualifying with a five-place grid penalty hanging over his head for an engine change.

Thus, Morcom will start seventh, and Brown is promoted back onto the front row.

Aaron Cameron and Jordan Cox will share the second row ahead of Zac Soutar and Dylan O’Keeffe.

At the back end of the top 10 was the ever-consistent Tony D’Alberto in eighth, Michael Caruso in ninth, and Luke King.

The top 10 squabble was reduced from 10 minutes to seven as time was taken to recover the crashed Audi of Jay Hanson, who went off at high-speed at Turn 1 in the closing stages of Q1.

Hanson is back in his new-spec model this weekend, having had to revert to an older spare car last round at Bathurst due to a practice crash.

Amid the frenetic end to opening qualifying, it was Caruso who flirted with danger of missing the cut for Q2.

When Soutar improved to second, Caruso was bumped out of the top 10. However, the Ashley Seward Motorsport driver was not done yet, moving back up to eighth after the chequered flag to knock Fabian Coulthard out of Q2.

Coulthard did his all to return serve and indeed did improve, but his 1:33.9825s fell less than a tenth short of the time that had Cox on the bubble.

Coulthard will thus share the sixth row of the grid with James Moffat, who ran an alternate strategy to head out on track during the mid-part of the 15-minute session when his rivals were back in the pits.

Behind, Bradley Shiels, Hanson, Kody Garland, Ben Bargwanna, Michael Clemente, Bailey Sweeny, Lachlan Mineeff and Iain McDougall rounded out the top 20, while mechanical gremlins kept Braydan Willmington from setting a lap.

Race 1 tonight will begin at 18:55 AEST.

Results: Qualifying

Position Number Team/Sponsor Driver Car Fastest lap Difference
1 30 HMO Customer Racing Josh Buchan Hyundai i30 N TCR 1:32.6286
2 11 HMO Customer Racing Nathan Morcom Hyundai i30 N TCR 1:33.1532 +0.5246
3 999 MPC Team LIQUI MOLY Will Brown Audi RS3 LMS TCR 1:33.2695 +0.6409
4 18 Team Valvoline GRM Aaron Cameron Peugeot 308 TCR 1:33.3142 +0.6856
5 33 Swyftx GRM Jordan Cox Peugeot 308 TCR 1:33.3658 +0.7372
6 110 Team Soutar Motorsport Zac Soutar Honda Civic Type R TCR 1:33.4146 +0.7860
7 8 Schaeffler GRM Dylan O’Keeffe Peugeot 308 TCR 1:33.5094 +0.8808
8 50 Honda Wall Racing Tony D’Alberto Honda Civic Type R TCR 1:33.5489 +0.9203
9 10 Ashley Seward Motorsport Michael Caruso Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR 1:33.6566 +1.0280
10 2 Moutai/ZIP PAY Luke King Hyundai i30 N TCR 1:34.3196 +1.6910
11 24 Stan Sport Wall Racing Fabian Coulthard Honda Civic Type R TCR 1:33.9825 Q1
12 34 LMCT+ Racing GRM James Moffat Renault Megane RS TCR 1:34.0872 Q1
13 333 Royal Purple Racing Brad Shiels Hyundai i30 N TCR 1:34.3772 Q1
14 9 AWC MPC Racing Jay Hanson Audi RS3 LMS TCR 1:34.4123 Q1
15 41 Valvoline Racing GRM Kody Garland Renault Megane RS TCR 1:34.4625 Q1
16 71 Burson Auto Parts Racing Ben Bargwanna Peugeot 308 TCR 1:34.4647 Q1
17 15 Michael Clemente Motorsport Michael Clemente Honda Civic Type R TCR 1:34.5812 Q1
18 130 HMO Customer Racing Bailey Sweeny Hyundai i30 N TCR 1:34.6562 Q1
19 14 Purple Sector Lachlan Mineeff Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR 1:34.6585 Q1
20 22 Melbourne Performance Centre Iain McDougall Audi RS3 LMS TCR 1:35.0090 Q1
21 89 Braydan Willmington Motorsports Braydan Willmington Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR Q1

Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]