Tasmania TCR: Holdsworth leads Alfa 1-2-3
Lee Holdsworth led an all-Alfa Romeo podium to kick off the 2021 TCR Australia season.
The former Supercars full-timer triumphed in what was his first TCR race, narrowly beating Jordan Cox in a tense battle.
It was Cox who led the way early on, the GRM Alfa driver getting the jump on Holdsworth at the start from the outside of the front row.
Holdsworth kept Cox well within his sights in those opening laps, before sneaking back into the lead through Turn 6 on Lap 6.
Cox then spent the rest of the race shadowing Holdsworth as the pair gapped the field, the margin between the two just seven-tenths at the end of the 20-lap affair.
"It's a nice way to start the year off and get the ball rolling," said Holdsworth.
"A couple of weeks I hadn't even driven a front-wheel-drive car. A week ago I had my first go, and I'll tell you what, it was a bit of a head stuff. But I got around it, and now we've got some speed."
Holdsworth's Ash Seward Motorsport teammate Jay Hanson finished a controversial third in the squad's second Alfa.
The teenager dropped behind Chaz Mostert (Melbourne Performance Centre Audi) early in the race, before misjudging a move to reclaim the final spot on the podium. A locked brake on the way into the hairpin saw Hanson crunch into the back of Mostert's car, the resulting spin dropping the Supercars ace back to seventh.
He was only able to recover to sixth in the three laps that were left.
"I want to say sorry to Chaz," said Hanson after the race. "It was completely my fault, I locked a brake. I'm so sorry."
Josh Buchan (HMO Hyundai) made the most of Mostert's misfortune to grab fourth followed by Aaron Cameron (GRM Peugeot).
Mostert and teammate Luke King finished sixth and seventh, as Brad Shiels (Tilton Hyundai), Nathan Morcom (HMO Hyundai) and James Moffat (GRM Renault) rounded out the Top 10.
Michael Caruso, meanwhile, had an action-packed race after his GRM Alfa wouldn't select first gear to start the formation lap. That meant he had to start from pitlane instead of from fifth, a solid recovery drive yielding 12th in the race.
Livestream: TCR Australia from Symmons Plains
Hanson loses TCR podium for collision with Mostert