NINTH place in the opening race at Mount Panorama was enough for Chaz Mostert to secure victory in the 2021 TCR Australia Series.
The category’s first race of the weekend was won by Aaron Cameron, who just held off a charging Ben Bargwanna after a tense, race-long battle.
The Peugeot pilots crossed the line side-by-side separated by just 0.0946 of a second, with Michael Caruso almost six seconds back in third place.
Brad Shiels, Jordan Cox and James Moffat filled out third through sixth, while Mostert had been in the middle of a tense battle of his own with title contender and Melbourne Performance Centre teammate Luke King and John Martin for seventh place.
He dropped behind the trio to minimise any risk to his title hopes and, while King prevailed to claim seventh, Mostert’s ninth-place finish was enough to seal the title.
Mostert was originally meant to sit out the TCR round entirely, preferring to focus on his Supercar duties at Walkinshaw Andretti United, but this schedule change allowed him to gain enough points to ensure that his lead was unassailable heading into the final two races.
Mostert joins fellow Supercars driver Will Brown as a TCR champion after the Erebus driver claimed the crown in 2019, with the series not held last year due to COVID-19.
Coming into the race, Mostert only needed to finish in eighth to win the title regardless of where King, who was second in the standings, finished.
This weekend’s point structure, which awards 50 points for Race 1 & Race 3, 40 points for the reverse top-10 grid Race 2 and two points for pole position, means that only second place and below are yet to be finalised.
The other drivers now out of title contention include Hyundai’s Josh Buchan and Nathan Morcom, with the former not even making it to the grid after his car came to a stop at The Chase on the formation lap.
“It’s amazing,” said Mostert.
“When the schedule got moved to Wednesday and I could do the first race, I was really relieved, but then this weekend hasn’t gone to plan in TCR Practice 1 with the crash and a few things in qualifying.
“Then the race was pretty hard, we had a little issue and we nursed it home and got the result of the championship.
“I’m super pumped, I’m ready to hang up the helmet for TCR for the year and now put the Supercar back on and try to finish off strong for the 1000.”
Mostert revealed he’d struggled with a vibration in the race and was happy to finish.
“In qualifying, the car felt pretty good, there were a few teething issues in qualifying, in the race, it felt quite bad,” he said.
“We got a big vibration, I don’t know if it was a rim that wasn’t meant to go back on or visa versa, but overall, I am just happy to get 21 laps out of it.”
The result marks Mostert’s first major series victory since taking out the Australian Formula Ford Championship in 2010.
“This is my first championship win in a series in probably 10 years, it’s nice to know that I can still be able to piece together a championship.
“This series has some seriously awesome young talent in it, some super-fast front wheel drive racers out there.
“You’ve got guys like Jordan Cox, Aaron Cameron, Luke King, some super-fast guys that kept me honest all year, but the Audi was super strong as well.
“This win is definitely up there and like I said, it’s not very often you win championships and it is pretty cool to win one 10 years after my last one.”