IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom and Michael Caruso and Alspec Racing’s Scott Pye and Tyler Everingham finished 15th and 16th respectively for Team 18 in a bruising Bathurst 1000.
After damage sustained from an incident on the first lap, both cars made a competitive display in The Great Race to race well in the top five in an action-packed race.
Everingham and Winterbottom took the start in 20th and 23rd respectively, as drama struck as soon as the field exited Turn 1 and ran up Mountain Straight.
An incident ahead involving Jamie Whincup, Jack Perkins and Zak Best sent cars spinning all across the track. As Everingham jumped on the brakes to negotiate the incident, he was crunched in the rear by Team 18 stablemate Winterbottom who had nowhere to go in a split-second and made contact with the #20 Alspec Racing car.
Only five laps later, Winterbottom received further rear-end damage when he was turned around by Tony D’Alberto at The Chase as they swerved to avoid an incident ahead involving Zane Goddard, Dale Wood and Matt Campbell.
Both cars sustained significant damage early-on which defined their race from that point onwards.
With a broken anti-roll bar and significant rear-end damage, Everingham and Pye’s pace was compromised by handling issues sustained from the Lap 1 incident, while Winterbottom and Caruso suffered front and rear damage which caused handling and heating issues which would have further impacts later in the race.
With strong pace and crafty strategy, Pye worked his up to second by Lap 44 as the race reached its halfway point while Winterbottom and Caruso also clawed their way back in to the top five positions.
While running in seventh on Lap 64, Everingham suffered an off-track excursion at McPhillamy Park but managed to avoid hitting the wall and ran off into the sand trap, dropping a stack of positions as he pitted for new tyres.
A critical stop on Lap 96 proved to be the toughest moment of the race for Winterbottom. An issue with the brake rotor change as a result of damage sustained on Lap 1 cost significant time loss in the pit lane, as they rejoined the track in 18th position.
Everingham handed over to Pye in 19th position with 47 laps to go. On Pye’s out-lap he was hit from behind by James Golding at Forrest Elbow which caused further damage to the rear of the Alspec car.
Despite their damaged cars, Winterbottom and Pye managed to keep up their pace to regain their position on the lead lap in the final stint with a wave-by on the safety car restart with 40 laps remaining.
Winterbottom and Pye recovered to finish 15th and 16th position of the 22 finishers. Their solid points finish was enough for Team 18 to leap up to sixth in the Teams Championship with two rounds remaining.
The penultimate round of the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship will be held on the streets of Surfers Paradise for the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 600 on October 28-30.
RESULTS & QUOTES
Scott Pye/Tyler Everingham, #20 Alspec Racing Team 18 Holden ZB Commodore
Race 30: 16th (Race time: 6:42:28.0971, fastest lap: 2:07.7208)
Mark Winterbottom/Michael Caruso, #18 Racing Team 18 Holden ZB Commodore
Race 30: 15th (Race time: 6:42:27.3748, fastest lap: 2:07.5347)
Scott Pye, driver #20 Alspec Racing Team 18 Holden ZB Commodore
“Really tough day here on the mountain, nothing really went our way.
“We did claw our way back to the top five in the early part of the race but we weren’t on our best game today and made some mistakes, and had a bunch of things go against us with safety cars and timing with getting Tyler out of the car, that was it.
“It was disappointing but our race was kind of done on the first lap. We got hit from behind which damaged the rear roll-bar which wasn’t repairable, it had broken off the chassis which meant we couldn’t’t fix its, so we did the race without it.
“We had to pin the front bar, so it was okay for the first part of each stint but then we had some really bad tyre life.
“It was cool to do the safety car restart at the front of the field, it was for position at that stage so we clawed our way back and we were able to hang on a bit, and if the car was straight we would’ve been able to go with Shane in that stint for sure, the car was really fast.
“It was disappointing we sustained that damage on the first lap. It was one of those days, Bathurst is evil sometimes but we’ll keep coming back and won’t stop trying and hopefully we can win it next time.”
Tyler Everingham, co-driver #20 Alspec Racing Team 18 Holden ZB Commodore
“Not quite the result we were hoping for, but still good to bring the car home in one piece.
We got a bit of damage on the opening lap and damaged the roll-bar so we couldn’t adjust it through the race, and it was changing the balance every lap which was pretty difficult to manage, we came pretty close to the wall at one point so it was just about surviving.
“A disappointing result but it was still great to be there, and thanks to Scott, Charlie and everyone at Team 18 for the opportunity and experience.”
Mark Winterbottom, driver #18 IRWIN Racing Team 18 Holden ZB Commodore
“I can’t believe we had damage after Turn 1. It was pretty chaotic, I can’t believe the way that race rolled out.
“We were wounded and we got back in the fight. We got back to fifth in my stint and we were going really good.
“Caruso did a great job, he was solid all day, no mistakes and it was looking really good.
“The brake rotor change put us down a lap, we had a few complications there which put us down a lap.
“At the end of the day we were 15th and a day of what could have been. I’m disappointed, this race is really special and we didn’t execute today. We’ll go again at the Gold Coast and hope some luck comes our way.”
Michael Caruso, co-driver #18 IRWIN Racing Team 18 Holden ZB Commodore
“Disappointing day for us, started off pretty hard. Frosty had nowhere to go on the first lap there and we saw what happened.
“We suffered some pretty hard damage to the end and we had to endure that for the rest of the day, the car wasn’t handling the best considering the amount of damage there was
“Frosty did a great job and unfortunately we had a pit stop that was really long when we got ourselves back in the race, and that was it from there.
“Thanks to everyone at Team 18 and IRWIN Racing, I really enjoyed the experience with the team.”