Soutar leads the way in touring cars

Zac Soutar is currently leading the TCR Australia Championship. (Insyde Media)

Ocean Grove’s Zac Soutar started racing go karts at the age of 10, progressed to Formula Ford and is now starring in touring car racing.

During the fourth round of the SuperCheap Auto TCR Australia Series at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia, Soutar won two out of three races and is currently leading the TCR Australia Championship ahead of names such as Tony D’Alberto, Ben Bargwanna and Clay Richards.

What makes this even more impressive is that Soutar is a privateer running his team in conjunction with his father Shane. They are the only professional level circuit racing team based in Greater Geelong.

Although Soutar was able to secure two race wins, the weekend was far from trouble free. Friday practice was a wash out, with Soutar only recording a small handful of laps in very wet conditions at the Tailem Bend circuit.

This would mean that the first opportunity to get a feel for the car’s pace in dry conditions would come on Saturday morning during qualifying.

Not to be deterred by the unknown quantity of the car underneath him, Soutar was able to qualify in a solid 4th place.

However, this was as good as Saturday would get. Upon pulling up to his grid box to start Race 1, Soutar realised that his clutch had failed, causing him to stall on the grid.

With the clutch not engaging, some quick thinking allowed Soutar to restart the car using the starter motor, but only once the entire field had already made their way by.

A solid recovery effort saw Soutar drive back up to 9th place by the end of the race.

Fortunes would change on Sunday for Soutar. Starting in second place as a result of the inverted Top 10 grid positions based on the results of Race 1, he was able to make the most of a repaired clutch to make a decent getaway from the line.

A great battle ensued into Turn 1 with fellow rival Ben Bargwanna, in which Soutar was able to hang around the outside and take the lead.

From there the #110 Tufflift Racing Audi driver never looked back, and was able to stretch out a gap of 7.5 seconds to bring home a commanding victory, his first in more than two years.

The celebrations wouldn’t stop there however. Starting in third for the final race of the weekend, Soutar was able to make a fantastic launch to jump straight up into 2nd place.

After some carnage behind and a safety car restart, the leader made a mistake going into the final corner, which allowed him to jump into the lead where he would stay until the end of the race.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend for the team,” Soutar said.

“I’m just so relieved to finally be able to bring home some race wins for the whole Tufflift Racing crew. My heart sank when I realised my clutch had failed at the start of race one. There was a moment there when all of the cars passed me off of the line that I figured our weekend and championship was over.

“I guess it’s a testament to never giving up as we were able to recover to ninth place, which set us up for the double victory on Sunday. A huge thank you goes out to my team and family. They never ever give up and were able to give me a rocket of a car, and I’m so pleased for everyone that we’ve been able to have a great weekend.”