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MEDIA RELEASE/Team 18 – Photos: Velocity Magazine
IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom equalled his best race result for Team 18, finishing fourth in the first race of the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship at the Mount Panorama 500.
Winterbottom started ninth for the race alongside team mate Scott Pye on the fifth row of the grid, after both Team 18 cars progressed through to the top ten shootout earlier in the day.
The IRWIN Commodore made its first pit stop on Lap 8 under the safety car period, and emerged in 11th. Winterbottom carved his way up to sixth after the second pit stop cycle concluded, before he picked off Fullwood for fifth and then inherited fourth after Slade’s crash at Forrest Elbow in the final laps.
Pye’s 250th Supercars race started off on the back foot after contact on the opening lap sent the DEWALT Commodore to the pit lane twice to repair bent steering.
For the remainder of the race, Pye was matching the times of the race leaders before he took the chequered flag in 19th place to collect some crucial championship points.
Team 18 returns to Mount Panorama today for another 20-minute qualifying session, top ten shootout and the final 250km race from 3:00pm.
Mark Winterbottom, driver – #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore
“It was a great way to start our championship campaign with a fourth in Race 1, but so close again to my first podium for the team,” said Mark Winterbottom.
“We started ninth and had pretty good race pace, stayed out of trouble, made some good moves and worked my way forwards into the top five.
“It’s a good confidence booster to get a strong top five result in the bag and it’s a great feeling knowing we have what it takes to contend this year.”
Scott Pye, driver – #20 DEWALT Racing Holden ZB Commodore
“It was a disappointing day for us to start the year, but overall we took away plenty of positives from our speed today,” said Scott Pye.
“We were caught up in an accident on the opening lap which bent my steering, it was frustrating that I was the only car affected by the contact and we pitted in to repair the damage.
“The crew did a mega job to replace the steering arm and get me back on track, and after that it was an absolute jet.
“I’m still really optimistic about tomorrow’s chances, we were the second fastest car on track by quite a margin and I’m sure Shane [Van Gisbergen] had plenty left in the bag while he was leading, but today I felt we had a really good shot at a podium.
“After everything we went through we finished the race, banked some crucial points and our speed leaves me and the team hopeful for tomorrow and the remainder of the year.”
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