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IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom salvaged a strong top ten finish in Race 15, while DEWALT Racing’s Scott Pye couldn’t catch a break after a steering arm failure took him out of contention in the opening race of the NTI Townsville 500.

Starting 21st, Winterbottom was on a charge from the outset, moving up five positions in the opening five laps.

Winterbottom made it up as high as ninth on track before Waters got past him with 18 laps to go, as he held position to finish tenth.

Likewise, Pye was on the move from 12th on the grid, getting by Kostecki and Waters to move into ninth before he made his first compulsory stop as he quickly caught up to a battle pack in front, demonstrating his potential to charge forward later in the race towards the top six.

However, shortly after making his second and final compulsory stop, Pye suffered a broken steering arm after hitting the kerbs at Turn 7 and 8 and side-swiped the concrete wall on exit.

Pye pitted immediately for repairs, and returned to the track several laps down after the crew replaced the broken steering arm to get back out and bank some crucial championship points in 23rd position.

Team 18 will return to the Reid Park Street Circuit tomorrow for the final day of action at the NTI Townsville 500, including Race 16 of the Repco Supercars Championship at 2:45pm, to be held again over 250 kilometres.

Catch all the action live on Channel 7, Fox Sports and Kayo Sports. Check your local guides for further details.

RESULTS & QUOTES

Scott Pye, driver #20 DEWALT Racing Holden ZB Commodore

Qualifying: 12th
Race 15: 23rd

“We qualified ok and managed to save a set of tyres for the race in P12, with some green tyres up our sleeve to come home on,” said Scott Pye.

“At the start of the final stint we were looking for a P5 or P6 finish before we snapped a steering arm.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s one of those things, The street circuits are hard on the cars and we got unlucky, so with 20 or 30 laps to go, sitting where we were in sixth we felt like we were on for a sure thing, but it wasn’t to be.

“It seems like our luck at the moment, we had a fast car in Darwin and weren’t able to convert and then today it’s pretty heartbreaking to have a similar thing happen out of pure bad luck.

“Full credit to the team, once the car had that mechanical failure I managed to get back in the pits and they changed the steering rod arm and got us back out there and classified as a finisher, it gives us some points and an opportunity to fight again tomorrow.”