Sunday, Sep 22 03:57pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Will Brown wins inaugural TCR Australia Series

Néstor Girolami has executed a perfect three-peat at Sandown Raceway, dominating the penultimate round of the carsales TCR Australia Series.


While the World Touring Car Cup regular was the man to beat, all eyes were on Will Brown who won the inaugural TCR Australia Drivers’ Championship with a round to spare despite some drama.


“Yeah, it feels awesome,”Brown said.


“It’s a bit bittersweet after fencing it on Lap 1 by my self but we fought back and was able to pass a few people. I can’t thank the boys from HMO Customer Racing enough.


“I got a really good start and didn’t use the launch control this time. Then I just absolutely put it in the fence by myself, which was a bit disappointing. But I got it back out and we raced on.”


For the third straight race it was Girolami who took the lead into Turn 1, this time followed by fellow Honda Civic Type R driver Tony D’Alberto.


There was drama at Turn 2 when Will Brown spun his Hyundai i30 N and fell to the rear of the field, but he quickly bounced back as he set a blistering pace to catch up.  


Giromali led the first lap with D’Alberto a second and a half adrift. The CAMS Australian Endurance Championship title winner had Garth Tander to contend with as the Audi RS 3 LMS pilot pushed to make up some places. Aaron Cameron lay a distant fourth with fellow Volkswagen Golf GTI driver Jason Bright in fifth.


It wasn’t long before Tander got by D’Alberto. The former Supercars Championship title winner took the spot on approach to Dandenong Road and set about trying to reel in Girolami.


Brown was given a free kick on Lap 3 when Dylan O’Keeffe fell off the road at Turn 9 on his own. He joined fellow title contender Brown down the back of the field, the pair in 13th and 14th respectively.


Lap after lap, Tander brought the deficit down to Girolami. While they streaked away, D’Alberto had a whole gaggle of cars including Fullwood, Heimgartner, Bright and Cameron in tow.


Come Lap 11, Fullwood was overtaken by Heimgartner, who set about chasing down D’Alberto.


Alexandra Whitley parked up for the second race in a row on approach to Turn 1 on Lap 13. Just moments later Heimgartner made his move on D’Alberto to snag third.


The finals stanza ran without much drama. A mistake by Bryce Fullwood allowed both Jordan Cox and Jason Bright to move up a place each. All while that was happening, Brown was making up places and extending his margin over Brown.


In the end it was Girolami who led home Tander by less than a second. Heimgartner claimed thirdand D’Alberto fourth. An admirable fifth place was on the cards for Cox, but he spun at Dandenong Road on the final lap and failed to cross the start/finish line.


With that, Jason Bright claimed fifth. Bryce Fullwood, Aaron Cameron, Will Brown, James Moffat and Nathan Morcom completed the top 10.


With eighth overall, Brown was able to claim the inaugural TCR Australia Series. The final round of the championship takes place at The Bend Motorsport Park over 15-17 November.