Winton TCR: Bright wins as early leaders clash
Jason Bright took full advantage of a clash between early leaders John Martin and Will Brown to win the opening TCR Australia race at Winton.
Martin emerged in front after a frantic first lap, passing Andre Heimgartner at Turn 7 before sprinting to a 1.2s lead.
Polesitter Brown, meanwhile, was shuffled back to fourth on the opening lap, after pitching his HMO Hyundai into a slide through the Turn 1/2 complex.
Brown quickly recovered from his sluggish start, working his way back to second by the end of Lap 2.
He then immediately cut Martin's advantage down to nothing, parking his i30 under the leading Honda's rear wing.
On Lap 5 Brown made his move, passing Martin into the penultimate corner before ending up on the outside of the Honda into the final corner.
The pair then made contact that left Brown in the grass, the off-track excursion dropping him back to third behind Jason Bright (Alliance VW).
Martin's challenge unravelled two laps later thanks to a left-front puncture from the Brown contact.
That left Bright in control of the race, the former Supercars star keeping Brown at bay as he racked up a second win of the season.
"We were good out of the box, the first couple of laps I could see everyone was struggling for tyre temps," said Bright.
"The car was good all race, I'm really happy."
Brown, meanwhile, was left to rue damage from the Martin clash that prevented him from taking the fight too Bright.
"I thought I left plenty of room on the inside but I just got pushed off," he said.
"I'll have to look at the footage. You never know until you look at the footage from the outside. But it did a bit of damage to our right front, so made it a bit tough."
Brown's title rival O'Keeffe (ASM Alfa) came home a distant third, complaining of issues with his brake pedal.
"I just can't stop the car, it feels so dangerous," he said.
"I'm glad to make it to the finish of that one. It was super tough, I was just trying to keep composed.
"That's one of the toughest races I've done."
Tony D'Alberto emerged as the best Wall Honda in third thanks to Martin's dramas, followed home by Nathan Morcom (HMO Hyundai) and Aaron Cameron (MPC VW).
Heimgartner dropped back to seventh after a half-spin on Lap 6.
|1||Jason Bright||Taskforce / Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||23:06.9034|
|2||William Brown||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||23:07.8427|
|3||Dylan O’Keeffe||Ashley Seward Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||23:15.0596|
|4||Tony D’Alberto||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||23:16.5374|
|5||Nathan Morcom||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||23:20.0936|
|6||Aaron Cameron||Melbourne Performance Centre||Volkswagen Golf GTI||23:20.1533|
|7||Andre Heimgartner||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra||23:21.9711|
|8||Russell Ingall||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||23:22.3507|
|9||Tim Brook||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||23:26.9974|
|10||Liam McAdam||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||23:39.1908|
|11||Molly Taylor||Kelly Racing||Subaru WRX STi||23:50.8315|
|12||Alexandra Whitley||Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||24:00.1609|
|13||Leanne Tander||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||24:17.9154|
|14||John Martin||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||23:33.1349|
|15||Bryce Fullwood||Kelly Racing||Subaru WRX STi||23:55.8469|
|16||Hamish Ribarits||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra||22:02.9527|
|17||Jordan Cox||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||8:54.4822|
|18||James Moffat||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Megane RS|
|19||Chris Pither||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Megane RS|
Winton TCR: Brown scorches to maiden pole
D'Alberto, Whitley penalised after Winton TCR opener