Josh Buchan was none the wiser to the chaos unfolding behind him as he cruised towards a dominant win in the TCR Australia Series opener at Phillip Island.
After a luckless Friday in which he didn’t complete a single flying lap due to electrical gremlins, inaugural champion Will Brown suffered an all-new issue.
Just one lap into the race, the right rear of his Audi RS 3 LMS began to sag.
Stan Sport is the only place to watch the 2023 SpeedSeries. All the action streaming ad free, live and on demand
Brown came to the pit lane where he retired, storming out of the garage to let off some steam.
It marked the fourth consecutive race in which he didn’t score a point, making his title bid an almost insurmountable task.
“If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry,” Brown told Stan Sport’s Chris Stubbs.
“I’ve just got to take it well, but that’s the fourth thing. So it’s actually something different to yesterday and something different to this morning.
READ MORE: All Blacks’ ‘greatest centre in history’ dies
READ MORE: Difficult dilemma in OnlyFans star’s racing return
READ MORE: O’Donnell’s emotional changeroom moment with son
“This pretty much a new part and the control arm has torn out of the upright. It’s just torn off. I don’t know how it happened. I didn’t hit anything. It was actually a pretty clean start.
“Overall, not a very good weekend. I haven’t finished a single session. We’ll see how we go tomorrow.
“Four DNFs, you’re not going to win the championship with how many cars are in it. With only have 13 cars right now you don’t have enough to claw your way back up.
“For us, we were more looking at the World Tour stuff anyway, trying to go overseas with that so we might have to see what we do tomorrow as in points wise because it’s still (misfiring) with the problem from yesterday. We’ll work out what we do tomorrow.”
Fellow Audi driver and front-row start Zac Soutar came into the weekend nervous the driveshaft might be a sore point.
However, it was an entirely different issue in race one that he suffered on lap eight.
“I don’t know what the story is,” Soutar told 13-time Supercars race winner Fabian Coulthard.
“Coming out of Honda, it just cut out. It’s like a pit limiter came on or something, kind of like a misfire. Probably the same as what Will has got.
“We just can’t catch a break at the moment. It’s not going too well for us, that’s for sure.”
The chaos continued as English international Tom Oliphant suffered a puncture and speared off the road at Miller Corner.
He brought his brand new Lynk & Co 03 back to the pit lane, going on to finish 10th.
Having watched Buchan drive away from him, last year’s champion Tony D’Alberto fell into the clutches of Lachlann Mineeff.
Mineeff was the only Audi driver seemingly able to escape issues. He found pace late in the race and put a pass on D’Alberto for second out of Lukey Heights.
Moments later, D’Alberto began to slow as the air went out of his right front tyre, which began to delaminate on the front straight.
“It was only the lap before that my engineer said, ‘Just be a little bit careful, a few guys are losing tyres’, and I had no reason to slow down or anything like that,” D’Alberto explained.
“It felt fine and then over that lap it just started to go away from me. I lost a position and then almost lost it coming onto the straight and that was it.”
Buchan beat Mineeff to the line by two seconds while Aaron Cameron claimed the final place on the podium another two and a half second back.
The TCR Australia Series takes in race two at 11:30pm on Sunday followed by race three at 4:15pm.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
Sons-of-speed: The second and third-generation racers following in the footsteps of Australia’s legends
#SpeedSeries #news #TCR #Australia #Series #title #Brown #favourite #concedes #defeat #DNF