TCR Australia race winner John Martin has continued to impress in a surprise return to competition this weekend at Sandown.
Martin, who won a race at The Bend in the inaugural 2019 TCR Australia season, was at Sandown this weekend on driver coaching duties for Honda/Wall Racing competitor Will Harris.
But yesterday, Martin found himself suddenly back behind the wheel after a rib injury flared up for Harris.
“The weekend started out as just a driver coaching role and running the car more than anything, and with Will’s pre-existing injury we tried to make it as comfortable as possible for him,” said Martin, who beat Tim Slade to the 2006 Australian Formula Ford title.
“Unfortunately, when he woke up on Saturday morning he sort of realised it wasn’t going to be possible this weekend.”
That made for a rush for Martin to piece together kit to race in.
“We hunted around a little bit, it was a mad scramble around to get stuff,” he said.
“My helmet had to get ran out in the morning, the suit was what (Giancarlo) Fisichella used in the Grand Prix in S5000 which fit luckily, some of David Wall’s gear as well, but it all came together.”
Despite having no prior practice, Martin qualified 11th in the 15-car field yesterday and converted that into 10th in Race 1.
That put him in pole position for Race 2 – run to a reverse top 10 grid – and the 39-year-old shook off a slow start to finish fifth while Jordan Cox staved off Clay Richards for victory.
The result marks Cox’s first TCR race win since February 2022.
The third and final TCR Australia race of the weekend will start at 3:20pm AEDT.