Chelsea Angelo continued her TCR Australia adventure and raced for the first time at the unforgiving Mount Panorama circuit in touring cars, completing a clean and mistake-free weekend.
The striking Mount Panorama Circuit hosted the third round of the 2021 TCR Australia championship and, after making her return to the series at Phillip Island having missed the season opener, Chelsea Angelo was back behind the wheel of the #37 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR car of Melbourne Performance Centre.
In a strong field of 22 competitors, Angelo classified 18th after Friday first practice, while she was 21st after the second session.
Qualifying went underway on Saturday morning and Angelo hit the track to set her time for the Race 1 grid, but half-way through qualifying the session was stopped with a red flag when Jordan Cox collided at The Chase. The action was not resumed.
Chaz Mostert, who was the fastest driver before the red flag, clinched his second pole position followed by Aaron Cameron in second and Audi driver Garth Tander in third, while a convincing Chelsea Angelo placed her #37 entry in 13th for Race 1.
The two front-runners Mostert and Cameron had a great battle for Race 1 glory straight from the green lights; the driver of the #18 Peugeot 308 TCR made it to the lead at turn one, managing to jump ahead of Mostert and quickly gaining a two-second advantage at the end of lap 1, but Mostert recovered the gap by setting the fastest time on lap 4.
A few laps later, Mostert attempted to move ahead of the rival at Hell Corner and Griffins Bend, but Cameron was initially able to defend – before having to surrender the top place after an exciting side-by-side fight one lap later at Turn 1.
Meanwhile, Chelsea Angelo battled in the midfield at was hit by Josh Bunchan, who passed her with an aggressive move. The lady from Melbourne kept fighting in the bunched-up group, but lost positions in the final stages and finished P20 at the chequered flag.
Chaz Mostert won with a one second gap to Cameron, as Garth Tander completed the Race 1 podium with a solid run in third.
The start of Race 2 saw very similar action to the previous one: Cameron took the lead over Mostert on lap 1 and commanded the field until the mid-race mark before dropping in second when Mostert completed a great pass for the lead at The Chase and successively ran away with victory with a comfortable three-second gap.
Among the protagonists of Race 2 was an impressive Jordan Cox: after a strong start from ninth, he recovered until the fourth spot and finished just one place down from a podium finish - again claimed by Tander for the second time in a row.
Dylan O'Keeffe suffered damages on his #33 Renault Megane RS in the opening laps, but rejoined the race and finished P19, one lap behind Chelsea Angelo who crossed the line in P18. Jay Hanson also had troubles and was forced to an early retirement, just like Michael Clemente and Tony D'Alberto, as they could not finish the race.
In the final race of the weekend, the two main rivals for the win were unchanged: Cameron continued his streak of flawless reactions at the green lights and move ahead of Mostert at Turn 1, but the race was neutralized after a few moments later when Lee Holdsworth's Alfa Romeo Guilietta came to a halt in a cloud of smoke, triggering the Safety Car.
Cameron had a better restart and held on to the lead, but a contact between Tony D'Alberto and another competitor caused another Safety Car.
In the final stint after the green flag, Mostert went side by side with the race leader and overtook Cameron after Turn 1 – a move that would ultimately allow the Audi driver to claim his third victory of the weekend.
Chelsea Angelo completed her first experience at Mount Panorama in a touring car with a 19th position, after a clean race and a mistake-free weekend at such an unforgiving racetrack.
"Can officially tick off Racing TCR Australia at Bathurst for the first time ever!" – she wrote. "What an intense weekend of racing. Ideally I would've liked to have been up the field a bit more. But I can take away a massive improvement within myself over the course of the event."
"Bathurst is a brutal circuit. To know I have accomplished a massive goal by successfully bringing the car home in one piece is a win in my eyes, upwards and onwards for Sidney. Let's go get it" – Chelsea Angelo added on her social media feeds.
In less than a month , the TCR Australian Series will move on to Sydney Motorsport Park for the next round of its 2021 season on April 30 - May 2.