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MEDIA RELEASE/Team 18 – Photos: Supercars
IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom and DEWALT Racing’s Scott Pye enjoyed Team 18’s best day out of the season at Sydney Motorsport Park today in Races 8 and 9 of the Supercars Championship.
Winterbottom scored a trio of top-ten finishes this weekend and secured the team’s first top-five result with fifth in Race 9, while Pye climbed up several positions in both races with results of 11th and 12th.
Both drivers struggled for qualifying with the increased ambient temperature earlier in the day, but were confident in their race pace and tyre strategy to move forward in every race.
Winterbottom improved from 12th to eight in Race 8 and 11th to fifth in Race 9, while Pye showed similar growth to climb from 17th to 11th in Race 8 and 16th to 12th in Race 9.
The drivers and engineers took their learnings from Saturday’s Race 7 into Sunday’s races, as the DEWALT Racing side of the garage elected to conserve their tyre bank and put on four tyres during their stop in the final race.
Both Winterbottom and Pye hailed the whole event a great success for Supercars, and lauded the race formats as exciting for drivers and equally challenging for teams.
Winterbottom particularly expressed his pleasure to see mixed results throughout the weekend with the smaller teams in the field able to fight for a result against the series heavyweights at the front of the field.
The IRWIN Racing and DEWALT Racing Commodores will head back to the team’s Mount Waverley headuquarters with confidence in their package and momentum in their performance before the next event of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at Winton Motor Raceway on 18/19 July.
Mark Winterbottom, driver #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore
“I’m really wrapt with the weekend with three top ten results,” said Winterbottom.
“P8 in the first race and fifth to finish off the weekend in the final.
“Qualifying speed wasn’t where it could have been but our race pace and tyre life was strong and we had a good car under me which made it all possible.
“The formats were really cool, different strategies and different winners really spiced up the weekend and I think it was a success.
“I think the sport needs different winners and I like the fact that we also had not much break between sessions, I loved it.”
Scott Pye, driver #20 DEWALT Racing Holden ZB Commodore
“All-in-all the races were great today and it was a smooth weekend overall,” said Pye.
“Qualifying wasn’t ideal, we lost a bit of speed this morning with the higher ambient temperature, but we moved forward in the races which was great for the team.
“I made better starts in both races and got into a rhythm and pulled off some good overtakes.
“The strategy was so interesting whether you did two or four stops and what tyres you had left at the end of the day. We saved our tyres at different points throughout the day and put four tyres on in the last race.
“I’m really happy with my seat-time, It’s the first time all year I’ve managed to have some good quality time in the car to do some consistent laps.
“The crew did an amazing job this weekend, this schedule was insane but full credit to them. They made no mistakes and the car didn’t have an issue all weekend.
“We’re really happy to put some good points in the bank and lots to work on moving forward.”
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