Race 28 2023 Repco Supercars Championship - Vailo 500 For the second year succession, the…
MEDIA RELEASE/Team 18 – Photos: Velocity Magazine
Team 18 drivers Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye finished eighth and ninth respectively in Race 1 of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship at the Thrifty Newcastle 500.
Qualifying saw Pye get up to speed early, placing ninth in the #20 Hino Team 18 Chevrolet Camaro and progressed through to the Top 10 Shootout.
Pye finished the shootout in ninth after a strong lap, less than two tenths of a second from the front row.
Winterbottom battled for qualifying pace to start Race 1 from 16th in the #18 DEWALT Racing Team 18 Camaro. As the race started, Winterbottom copped a hit from behind which dislodged a portion of his rear bumper, which fortunately held on for the remainder of the race.
Pye got off to a clean start and held eighth for the first stanza of the race before emerging in tenth after the pit stop cycle.
Pye showed strong pace when he caught and passed James Courtney with ten laps to go and took the chequered flag in ninth.
Winterbottom quietly moved up the pack, passing Courtney during the pit stop cycle and ultimately popped out in eighth position at the chequered flag to secure a dual top ten finish for Team 18 in the first race of the year.
Team 18 returns to action tomorrow for Qualifying at 11:15am, a Top 10 Shootout at 12:35pm and Race 2 of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship at 3:20pm, live on Channel 7 and Fox Sports.
Scott Pye, driver #20 Hino Team 18 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Qualifying: 9th (1:11.7257)
Shootout: 9th (1:12.1591)
Race 1: 9th (Fastest lap: 1:13.3213)
“Our qualifying session was good. My shootout lap was ok, made a little mistake but looking at it a few people made mistakes and it ended up being very close. Disappointed to not be further up the grid but still great to be in the shootout to start the weekend.
“The race was going well but unfortunately we lost ten seconds in the pits which cost us a top six or a top five position in the race.
“Eyes forward to tomorrow now, we finished up ninth which is an ok result but disappointed to not get that fifth or sixth with the pit stop drama we had, but we’ll hopefully go out tomorrow, make no mistakes and bounce back.”
Mark Winterbottom, driver #18 DEWALT Racing Team 18 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Qualifying: 16th (1:11.9265)
Race 1: 8th (Fastest lap: 1:13.2739)
“A good race to make up eight positions today.
“I started 16th, qualified poorly but somehow avoided most of the contact at the start, had damage but still got through.
“We had really good pace and drove through to eighth and passed quite a few cars and had a good race from then on.
“We just need to qualify better and use our pace and if we start at the front we should be able to race further up the front and make our day a little bit easier.
“It’s great to have two reliable cars, this track is so brutal and they were put through their paces today, great that two cars finished straight and we’ll tidy them up and go again tomorrow.
“They’re a lot of fun to drive. Tyre degradation is definitely higher than previous, you have to manage it a lot more, just try and be clever about looking after the tyres.
“It’s harder for sure but there is a way and some cars are doing better at it at the moment while some aren’t, but tyre life is definitely worse in these cars than what we’ve seen before.”
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