Team 18 executed their best weekend points haul of the season to date at the Penrite Sandown SuperSprint, as both Nulon Racing’s Scott Pye and IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom scored a top five finish in Races 25 and 26 respectively.
After changes were made overnight following Race 24, both cars rolled out strong during Sunday morning’s back-to-back qualifying sessions.
Pye was fifth fastest for Race 25, while he was on target for a similar starting position for Race 26 prior to an issue during his final flying lap which saw his fastest time ultimately set on his first run on previously worn tyres.
Winterbottom meanwhile started 12th for Race 25, and went under the previous qualifying lap record during Qualifying for Race 26 to start fourth.
Pye lost a handful of positions when he was ran wide on the start of Race 25, but clawed his way back to fifth through strong pace and a fast service in the pit lane.
Winterbottom charged forwards six places from 12th, however his race was compromised following a crunch from behind by Brodie Kostecki when they entered the pit lane which affected rear tyre life late in the race as he dropped back to 12th position.
Starting fourth for Race 26, Winterbottom struggled off the line and lost two positions, before showing good pace and recovered to fifth at the chequered flag.
Pye also lost ground during the skirmish on the opening lap, before he charged forwards from 13th to finish in seventh.
Pye ultimately finished fifth overall on points for the weekend, with Winterbottom ninth. Their weekend points haul of 382 points saw Team 18 jump to seventh position in the Teams’ Championship.
The next event of the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship will be the first overseas round since 2019 at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint at the final Supercars event at Pukekohe Park Raceway on 9-11 September.
RESULTS & QUOTES
Scott Pye, #20 Nulon Racing Holden ZB Commodore
Qualifying (R25): 5th (1:07.5646)
Qualifying (R26): 10th (1:07.5852)
Race 25: 5th (Fastest Lap: 1:08.9315)
Race 26: 7th (Fastest Lap: 1:08.8588)
“A great weekend here at Sandown Raceway, we finished seventh, fifth and seventh in the final race.
“I’m really happy with that, stoked for the crew as well, they played a huge part in all three of those races. Their pit stops were amazing, we had engine changes, gearbox changes on my car and the car ran faultless after every change we did, so a huge thanks to everyone at Nulon Racing and Team 18.
“We’ll try and take this momentum into Pukekohe in a few weeks.
“We have a ride day tomorrow where Tyler will be in the car so it will be great for him to get some miles ahead of Bathurst.
Mark Winterbottom, #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore
Qualifying (R25): 12th (1:07.8482)
Qualifying (R26): 4th (1:07.4429)
Race 25: 12th (Fastest Lap: 1:09.2232)
Race 26: 5th (Fastest Lap: 1:09.1011)
“I just couldn’t get off the line in the final race. The wheels spun and we were in fourth position so it was looking good and after that we had a pretty good race, the car was fast and with a better start I think we could have got a podium today.
“Happy with our pace but disappointed we didn’t spray champagne at the end
“We were fast all weekend, few little issues but we’re moving forwards which is great. Not many rounds left but hopefully this is good signs to come for the rest of the year.”