Johnson breaks lap record in TCM victory


Three-time TCM title winner Steven Johnson broke the lap record on his way to victory in Race 1 of the Gulf Western Oils Touring Car Masters

Steven Johnson has broken the Gulf Western Oils Touring Car Masters lap record at Symmons Plains Raceway in claiming victory in Race 1.

In picking up from where left off at the 2022 Valo Adelaide 500, Johnson claimed a lights-to-flag victory in his Ford Mustang, taking the chequered flag for his 55th TCM victory in the 19-lap race ahead of Andrew Fisher (Holden Torana A9X) and Trophy Race winner Ryan Hansford (Holden Torana A9X).

Johnson started the race on his own from the front row after John Bowe failed to take the track, after the engine of his Holden Torana SL/R blew at the end of the Trophy Race.

The Queenslander quickly set about building a gap of 0.8639s on Fisher, who was joined on the second row of the grid by Danny Buzadzic (Holden Torana A9X).

Hansford was on the charge early quickly making his way from fifth to third by Lap 2, with Buzadzic dropping back to fourth.

Meanwhile, at the front of the field, Johnson broke the Race Lap Record on Lap 3 with a 0:55.9563s, while Fisher also bettered the previous benchmark on the same lap with a 0:56.1669s.

He continued to build a margin at the head of the field, holding an advantage of 1.7603s over Fisher by Lap 7, with Hansford more than 5s off the leader at the time.

By Lap 14, Johnson held a 6s advantage over Fisher, with Hansford over 5s adrift.

While a largely processional race, there were several hairy moments with Buzadzic locking the right on the run down to the hairpin, while Adam Williams (Holden Torana) also went sideways on several occasions during the race.

Johnson went onto cross the stripe 1.7s clear of Fisher, with Hansford claiming the final spot on the podium.

Buzadzic was fourth ahead of Marcus Zukanovic in his Ford Falcon XD, with Cameron Tilley the last of the runners in the Valiant Pacer, with Williams failing to finish the race.

Touring Car Masters will return to the track tomorrow for Race 2 at 12:20 local time/AEDT.

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