Hino Racing’s Scott Pye scored a season-best fourth place finish in Race 7 of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
The penultimate day of on-track action saw two races for the team to tackle.
Starting in 12th and 13th respectively, Pye and IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom had a clean start in Race 7 before a safety car was called on Lap 5, forcing the team to pit both cars at the same time.
Pye swapped from the Dunlop Soft Tyre to hards and rejoined in eighth, while Winterbottom swapped from hards to softs and then pitted a lap later to put a set of hards back on for the run to the finish from 19th position.
Another safety car on Lap 10 saw Winterbottom pit and put softs back on as he charged from 19th up to 13th place at the finish.
Pye moved forwards to sixth position after the safety car restart and crossed the line in fifth after Mostert and Courtney clashed at the final corner. Pye was then promoted to fourth position after a post-race penalty for Mostert to register his best finish of the season to date.
Race 8 saw the team impacted by a major radio issue from the outset, with minimal communication between the drivers and the garage.
Pye was pushed off the track at the first corner and dropped to the back of the field. Pye dropped into the pit lane with a puncture at the end of the first lap without communication, as the crew rushed to perform the stop.
Winterbottom made a great start and ran as high as seventh before he also arrived into an empty pit box as the crew rushed to service the IRWIN car, finishing back in 17th position.
Pye dropped a lap down and circulated in the leading pack for the remainder of the race, resetting the Albert Park lap record at a 1:46.0060 in the process.
Team 18 returns for the fourth and final race of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 on Sunday at 12:00pm in the lead-up to the 2022 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
RESULTS & QUOTES
Mark Winterbottom, driver #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore
Race 7: Started 13th, finished 12th (Fastest lap: 1:48.5721)
Race 8: Started 10th, finished 17th (Fastest lap: 1:47.6722)
“Not our day, we were a bit unlucky in the first one with tyre choice with the early safety car. If we didn’t get that safety car it would have worked really well.
“In the second race we were running seventh, had a good start, had really good pace and pitted to an empty pit box with no crew there to put tyres on, so we lost all of our time and our positions and came out towards the back of the field, so that was a missed opportunity.”
“We’ll come back tomorrow and try again and sort the basics out, as when you do get a chance at results you can’t throw them away, so we’ve got more work to do.”
Scott Pye, driver #20 Hino Holden ZB Commodore
Race 7: Started 12th, finished 4th (Fastest lap: 1:48.2448)
Race 8: Started 19th, finished 25th (Fastest lap: 1:46.0060 – lap record)
“Great start to the day with P4. We showed some amazing speed in both races today and certainly cemented ourselves as a top five in terms of car speed.
“In the second race we weren’t able to show that, it didn’t go to plan with contact at Turn 1 and I didn’t have a radio either, so no radio meant I couldn’t communicate to the team which meant I arrived unexpectedly in the pit lane which caught everyone off guard.
“I got put out in front of the leaders and we ran with them for the whole race. I ran in what was p5 but not effectively P5, and I was able to lay down some good times and try some things inside the cockpit which I will hopefully be able to use tomorrow to my strengths, but after that we had to pit again and finish on the soft tyre.”
“Luckily they’re only 75 point races, a great start to the day, just not how we wanted to finish.”