Yann Ehrlacher won the final Kumho TCR World Tour/TCR Australia third race at Bathurst and sent the battle for the title down to the wire. The Frenchman is now heading to Macau for next week’s season finale on top of the World Tour standings, on equal points with Rob Huff, although he is first for the dead heat of three wins against Huff’s two. Norbert Michelisz, who was leading before this race, dropped to third, only one point behind the pair. Cyan Racing grabbed the Team’s title.
In TCR Australia, while Tony D’Alberto took his second win of the weekend, the fifth position was enough for Josh Buchan to secure the title; his teammate Bailey Sweeny who had led the standings until after yesterday’s first race was excluded from Race 3 for overboost and dropped to third behind D’Alberto.
Race 3 – Santiago Urrutia and Ehrlacher shared the front row of the grid based on the points scored so far, with D’Alberto and Thed Björk behind them and the pair of Huff and Michelisz filling the third line. At the start the three Lynk & Co cars moved together and blocked D’Alberto behind, with Biörk and Urrutia letting Ehrlacher to move into the lead. Huff began to chase the three leaders, while Aaron Cameron passed D’Alberto for P5. At the end on lap 1, D'Alberto reacted and dived to the inside of Cameron who went wide and rejoined in ninth position before being passed by Jordan Cox. Michelisz benefited from the commotion to move up into sixth behind D’Alberto.
TCR Australia title contenders Sweeny and Buchan were running in 11th and 14th positions. The trio of Lynk & Co cars pulled away, while Huff defended P4 from D’Alberto. Then, in lap 3, Urrutia hit the wall and retired, while Sweeny overtook Cameron for eighth.
In lap 7, Cox pulled up on the main straight; the safety car was deployed, and Cameron too stopped at the Chase chicane during the neutralization period. The race control was ready to relaunch the race for a final lap when Mikel Azcona hit the wall and forced the safety car to stay on track until the chequered flag.
Ehrlacher said: “First of all I have to mention the team’s effort. They gave me a very good car and they planned a great strategy for this last race that gave me an easy way into the lead and the opportunity of pulling away from my competitors. Unfortunately, Santi hit the wall, but then Thed defended me like a lion. I was in the position not to take any risks and I’m super happy with the job.”
D’Alberto said: “Finally I got a great start, the first one since I switched to the new car that is very different from the previous model. I’m very happy with this weekend as I have been running at the front with the best drivers in the world and on one of the most demanding tracks. And to advance a position to finish third in the championship was the icing on the cake.”
Bathurst – Race 3
Championship points – TCR World Tour
Championship points – TCR Australia
Picture: TCR Australia/Daniel Kalisz