Buchan blasts into TCR title contention with twin wins for the new i30 Sedan N TCR at Phillip Island.

15 May, 2023

  • Josh Buchan has stormed into title contention with two wins in round two of the 2023 TCR Australia Championship at the iconic Phillip Island circuit
  • First pole position and race victories for the new-generation Hyundai i30 Sedan TCR in Australia
  • Bailey Sweeny has extended his lead in the Driver’s Championship with a consistent run of top five finishes in all three races

Hyundai’s Josh Buchan has stormed into title contention for the 2023 TCR Australia Championship with a dominant victory in round two of the series at Phillip Island.

The 28-year-old Sydneysider scored two emphatic lights-to-flag victories from pole position to jump from eighth to fourth in the standings while his HMO Customer Racing teammate, Bailey Sweeny, extended his championship lead with a consistent run of top five finishes in the three races.

Buchan’s Phillip Island success was the first pole position and race victories for the new-generation Hyundai i30 Sedan TCR in Australia.

“What a fantastic weekend for me, Hyundai and HMO Customer Racing with pole position and two race wins at one of the best racetracks in the country,” said Buchan.

“The team has been working hard to understand the Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR, and it was an incredible feeling to have such success with the new-generation car. This is going to be a very competitive championship all the way to final round at Bathurst in November, so we’re not counting our chickens. But it is definitely a great breakthrough and gives us a lot of confidence moving forward.”

Both HMO Customer Racing drivers were among the front runners as soon as the action began at Phillip Island, with Sweeny and Buchan finishing in the top five for both practice sessions.

Buchan then vaulted to the top of the timesheets in qualifying to score pole position with a time that was more 0.3 seconds quicker than his closest rival while Sweeny stopped the clock with the fourth fastest time.

Buchan bolted away from pole position and eeked out enough of advantage over the first few laps to comfortably manage his pace for the remainder of the race to cross the finish line 2.5 seconds clear of second place.

Sweeny, on the other hand, had to charge back through the field after succumbing to wheelspin off the start line and losing places on the opening lap. Thanks to a series of skilled overtakes, he came home in fourth.

With the top-10 placegetters reversed for the second sprint, both HMO Customer Racing drivers were embroiled in door-banging clashes among the mid-field runners throughout the race. And both Sweeny and Buchan successfully played the long game and steered clear of trouble to cross the finish line in fifth and 10th respectively.

With Buchan starting from pole position again in the final race, he simply repeated his performance from Saturday to lead every lap and eventually crossed the finish line to score another win and the overall round victory, while Sweeny had another consistent run to fifth place.

Buchan’s dominant Phillip Island performance has elevated him into fourth position on the championship standings, just 28 points behind Sweeny.

The third round of the 2023 TCR Australia Championship will be held at the Winton Raceway in Victoria on June 9-11.

Car 30: i30 Sedan N TCR - Josh Buchan

“I’m pretty rapt with the weekend’s results. I didn’t really think that was going to be the outcome before we came here, but the team has done such an amazing job in the break since round one to get to grips with the i30 Sedan N TCR and we rolled the car out of the truck with top-five pace in practice, which made me optimistic for the rest of the weekend.

“To score the first pole for the new car on Saturday was amazing and then to back it up with the first win was even more incredible. But that made me super anxious, knowing that we could lose it all in the reverse grid race two. Thankfully, we kept out of trouble which gave us pole again for the last race and we could convert that into another win.

“I’m always confident that if I can get in front then I’m pretty hard to mow down, and we proved that this weekend.

“As for the championship, I want to be there at the end and this result has put us ahead of our targets at this point in the season. So, we will continue to chip away at it and hopefully by the time we arrive at Bathurst in November we will be the one to beat.”

Car 130: i30 N TCR - Bailey Sweeny

“I had really good speed from the outset, but we probably didn’t really maximise our potential in the races after a couple of poor starts. But our consistency paid off and we’ve extended our championship lead, which is a positive.

“I’m now looking ahead to the next round at Winton, which should suit the Hyundai i30 N TCR especially considering we lose the success ballast we picked up from qualifying in Tasmania.