In Bathurst’s Race 2, Norbert Michelisz took a crucial victory for the Kumho TCR World Tour’s title fight. The Hungarian driver recovered after a bad start from the pole and scored his third win of the season ahead of the early leader Aaron Cameron and Thed Björk. Thus, Michelisz has retaken the leadership in the standings ahead of Rob Huff who finished second thanks to a great strategy from his teammate Frédéric Vervisch who slowed from second and dropped behind his teammate, but ahead of the third title contender Yann Ehrlacher who finished seventh. Michelisz now leads by three points over Huff, while Ehrlacher slipped 15 points behind.
Drama hit TCR Australia’s points leader Bailey Sweeny whose Hyundai i30 N suffered from a turbo failure and did not score, while his teammate Josh Buchan finished third behind Cameron and Tony D’Alberto. Therefore, Buchan is the new leader by 19 points.
Race 2 – At the start, Cameron from P2 and Vervisch from P3 were faster than the polesitter Michelisz. Vervisch tried to pass Cameron into T3 but went wide and dropped to third behind Michelisz. Björk, Huff, Ehrlacher and Néstor Girolami followed the top three. During the first lap Sweeny slowed and limped to the pits, while his teammate Buchan was trying to defend the seventh position but was passed by Girolami and then made a mistake, dropping to 13th.
At the end of lap 4, Michelisz took the lead from Cameron at the Chase chicane, while further back Will Brown passed Santiago Urrutia for eighth after starting from P13. In lap 5, Vervisch too passed Cameron at the Chase for second, while Brown pulled up with a technical issue. Further back, D’Alberto was recovering after a bad start and passed both Jordan Cox and Zac Soutar advancing to ninth. Soon afterwards, Soutar pitted with a flat front tyre.
Mikel Azcona too was elbowing his way through the field, up to 11th from P22 on the grid. At the end on lap 10, Vervisch dropped behind Cameron, Björk and Huff to fifth ahead of Ehrlacher. Moments later the Frenchman lost P6 to Girolami who passed him at the Chase.
Michelisz won from Cameron – who took victory in TCR Australia – and Björk.
Michelisz said: “It was not easy. My start was not bad, but Cameron was faster and Vervisch went to the inside into Turn 2, but I repassed him when he went wide. I really wanted to win this race and fortunately it worked out. The car was great and I did my best pushing every lap.”
Cameron said: “It was awesome, racing against the international star. My goal was a podium result or a win. It was a hard race, and I led for the first laps, but I couldn’t keep Michelisz behind. Never mind, I took maximum points for the championship, and this is what matters.”
Bathurst – Race 2
Championship points – TCR World Tour
Championship points – TCR Australia
Picture: TCR Australia/Daniel Kalisz