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TCR champ returns to title-winning ride

JOSH Buchan will return to the cockpit of the car that delivered him last year’s title when the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series resumes at The Bend this weekend.

The 2023 series champion was forced to start his title defence in HMO Customer Racing’s older-specification Hyundai i30 N Hatch after encountering a technical issue with the i30 N Sedan during preseason testing.

The team elected to move Buchan into the hatch to safeguard his title hopes through Sandown, Symmons Plains and Phillip Island, while new teammate Tom Oliphant moved into an older hatch as part of the shuffle.

With the problems now rectified, Buchan will return to the sedan for the Race Tailem Bend round at Shell V-Power Motorsport Park, while Oliphant moves into the car Buchan drove in the opening rounds of 2024, including a race victory at last month’s Phillip Island round.

“It’s exciting to be back behind the wheel of the Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR,” Buchan said.

“I obviously have a great affinity for this car, and there’s a sticker on the dash in front of me reminding of the championship victory that I’ll be happy to see again.”

However, there is a catch to the car swap.

Josh Buchan (left) won the title in the sedan last year. Pic: Supplied

With both drivers technically swapping engines amid the car swap, Buchan and Oliphant will enter qualifying facing five-place grid penalties for the opening race.

“The penalty does put us behind the eight-ball a little from the start, but The Bend is a good racetrack with plenty of overtaking opportunities so I’m confident we’ll be competitive this weekend,” Buchan added.

The TCR action gets underway with a pair of practice sessions on Friday at The Bend, followed by qualifying and three races across the weekend.

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