IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom and Nulon Racing’s Scott Pye placed fifth and sixth respectively in Race 16 of the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship, the first of three races at the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown.
Both Team 18 drivers showed strong pace in qualifying to progress through to the Top 10 Shootout. Winterbottom was the second car out and set a 1:05.3522 which was the fastest time of the weekend up to that point before he and Pye qualified fifth and ninth for the afternoon’s race.
Both drivers got away to a clean start in Race 16 as Winterbottom and Pye slotted into sixth and ninth position on track. Pye was the first car in the team to take his two-tyre stop on Lap 13, while Winterbottom came in on Lap 22.
Pye made up ground with the undercut early in his second stint as Winterbottom emerged one place behind on fresh rubber.
From 11th, Winterbottom charged up to sixth position as Pye also moved forwards to seventh before they were promoted to fifth and sixth after a post-race penalty for Chaz Mostert.
Team 18 returns to Hidden Valley tomorrow for Races 17 and 18 at the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown at 11:55am and 3:25pm, live on Channel 7, Fox Sports and Kayo.
RESULTS & QUOTES
Mark Winterbottom, driver #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore
Qualifying: 5th (1:05.3522)
Race 16: 6th (fastest lap: 1:07.7395)
“We started in a good position but got boxed in there at Turn 1 and lost a position to Chaz [Mostert].
“Good result, a pretty clean race with a top six finish and both cars in the top ten as well.
“The team morale is good, no damage and we go again tomorrow.”
Scott Pye, driver #20 Nulon Racing Holden ZB Commodore
Qualifying: 9th (1:05.7943)
Race 16: 7th (fastest lap: 1:07.7917)
“We finished sixth in the first race today, great turnaround after yesterday when it was a little bit tough during practice to find car speed, the boys did a mega job overnight and gave me a great car.
“We made the top ten shootout which was really cool, laid my lap down with a few little mistakes which unfortunately meant we qualified ninth.
“We dropped from seventh to ninth in qualifying but we managed to come back through to sixth in the race.
“All-in-all a good points finish today, the crew did a mega job in the pit stops. I went a little bit long when I stopped so we’ll give the driver a tune up tomorrow and hopefully we can go a bit better.”