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Why TCR champ reverted to old-spec hatch

JOSH Buchan’s fine start to his TCR Australia title defence at Sandown came despite a hiccup during pre-season preparations.

Buchan left the 2024 season-opener just two points off early series leader Ben Bargwanna, after taking results of second, sixth and second.

All that came in an older-specification HMO Customer Racing Hyundai i30N hatch, as opposed to the new-spec sedan Buchan was due to be racing.

The reason? It boils down to a malfunction encountered during a recent test day at Sydney Motorsport Park.

“Effectively in testing we had a slight niggle with the car, in the motor, and we haven’t yet received basically some spares – so if something happened at the track to those components, we would be in trouble,” Buchan explained to V8 Sleuth.

“The decision was made to run the old-spec car purely out of potential.

Josh Buchan in action. Pic: Supplied

“We know what TCR is like, we know how hard somewhere like a Sandown, let alone TCR in general, is on the cars.

“It wasn’t worth running the risk of potentially having a shortcoming.

“We’re not in that game. We’re here to win the championship; we’re not here to shake trees and hope for a result.

“The sedan will be back very, very soon.”

Nevertheless, it was a “rock solid” Round 1 for Buchan aboard the ex-Bailey Sweeny hatch.

Josh Buchan (#1) in pursuit of Ben Bargwanna (#71). Pic: Supplied

“The starts cost me and then I kind of blew the tyres off it in the first race trying to hang on and then in the third race I had some kind of fuel pressure issue at the end,” Buchan reflected.

“I don’t think I had anything for mini Bargs, but it would have been nice to see how much nerve he had right at the end. But he did a great job.”

Symmons Plains will host Round 2 on March 15-17.

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