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Johnson goes back-to-back in TCM
By Iwan Jones
Sunday 26th February, 2023 - 12:54pm
Steven Johnson has claimed back-to-back victories in the Gulf Western Oils Touring Car Masters at AWC Race Tasmania.
A masterful drive from Johnson saw him back up his Race 1 victory with a dominant lights-to-flag win in his Ford Mustang, taking the chequered flag for his in the 19-lap race ahead Trophy Race winner Ryan Hansford (Holden Torana A9X) with John Bowe completing the podium from seventh on the grid after putting a spare engine in his Holden Torana SL/R overnight.
It was a busy start to the race with Johnson leading the way from Andrew Fisher (Holden Torana A9X) and Hansford with contact between Hansford and Fisher at Turn 2 on the opening lap, as Bowe dropped from seventh to the rear of the field, before making his way past Peter Burnitt (Holden Torana A9X) for eighth.
At the head of the field, Johnson quickly built a 2s advantage over Fisher, before Hansford passed the latter for second in the run to the hairpin on Lap 3.
A tyre puncture for Fisher saw him enter the pits at the end of that lap, with Danny Buzadzic (Holden Torana A9X) moving up to third, ahead of Bowe who had moved up three positions into fourth.
Johnson extended his margin by half a second to 2.5s on Lap 10, as Hansford led Buzadzic and Bowe in a three-way battle for the minor placings on the podium, the trio separated by less than a second, with fifth-placed Tilley more than 9s adrift.
He steadily managed his advantage at the head of the field as Buzadzic attempted an ambitious move around the outside at the hairpin on Hansford on Lap 14, locking the rear- brakes and spinning around, allowing Bowe to move up to third.
The six-time TCM title winner proceeded to attack the rear bumper of Hansford, easing the pressure on Johnson in the final laps.
Johnson went onto take the chequered flag, as Hansford held off a final-lap attack from Bowe to finish second, the latter rounding out the podium.
Buzadzic was fourth ahead of Cameron Tilley (Valiant Pacer), with Adam Williams (Holden Torana) in sixth.
Ford Falcon XD driver Marcus Zukanovic continued his comeback to motorsport from an injury lay-off with a seventh-place finish, as Burnitt and Fisher completed the field.
Touring Car Masters will return to the track for Race 3 at 14:55 local time/AEDT.
The race will be shown live and ad-free on Stan Sport for Australian viewers, with live and free global streaming outside Australia via Speedcafe.com here.
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