Urrutia Dominates Bathurst Opener
Cyan Racing Lynk & Co’s Santiago Urrutia has dominated the opening race of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series and Kumho TCR World Tour with a lights to flag performance at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International.
It was Urrutia who got the best jump off the front row, whilst Tony D’Alberto would fall in behind his Honda Wall Racing teammate Nestor Girolami, who made a great start from fourth on the grid and rubbed panels with Mikel Azcona’s Hyundai.
Urrutia would pull out by more than a second on the first lap, whilst the battle for second between the Australian and World Tour Hondas would remain the centre of attention as the reigning TCR Australia champion would stalk the Argentine for the whole race.
Further back in the pack was current TCR Australia points leader Bailey Sweeny, who was in damage limitation mode having qualified sixteenth outright due to a turbo issue with his Hyundai i30N.
Sweeny would lose a few positions from the start, but would begin to recover in the opening laps, with a highlight being a brave move at the entry to The Chase on the Burson Auto Parts Racing Peugeot of Ben Bargwanna on lap four.
The race had settled into a rhythm with the World Tour field coming to grips with Mount Panorama in race conditions, however a late twist in the tale would come when Azcona would suffer a front right puncture on his BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse entry on lap six.
The Spaniard would attempt to limp around to the pits, stopping first on the run to The Cutting, before coming to rest once again on exit of The Chase and bringing out the safety car on lap eight.
Urrutia had a margin of nearly two seconds when the safety car was called, whilst Girolami was also under increasing pressure from D’Alberto when the race was neutralised.
When the safety car came back in with two laps to go, Urrutia made the most of Girolami lagging behind at the restart, pulling out a big margin over the Argentine at the control line, ultimately handing the Uruguayan a buffer he held right to the chequered flag.
D’Alberto claimed TCR Australia honours in third outright, with championship contenders Josh Buchan and Aaron Cameron rounding out the podium in eighth and ninth outright, whilst Sweeny could only manage fourteenth outright and fifth of the Australians.
The combined Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series and Kumho TCR World Tour field return to the track for Race Two at 12:50pm AEST, with Norbert Michelisz starting on pole with the reverse top ten grid.
You can catch all the action live, ad break free, and on demand on Stan Sport.