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IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom and DEWALT Racing’s Scott Pye endured a tough ending for Team 18 at the Townsville 500, placing 16th and 23rd respectively in Race 16.

The team had their work cut out for them early after struggling for qualifying performance across the weekend, with Scott starting 14th for the final race of the weekend, and Winterbottom starting again from 21st position.

Pye’s hopes were dash by the end of the first lap after he was an innocent bystander of an incident that unfolded ahead of him at the Turn 11 hairpin involving Macauley Jones and James Courtney.

Pye pitted for the crew to repair the broken steering suffered during contact in the incident, and returned to the track three laps down on the field. Pye lapped competitively for the remainder of the race to finish in 22nd, dipping into the 1:13 second lap bracket along with only three other cars in the field.

Winterbottom moved forwards early in the race, picking up five spots to sit 16th before making his first of two compulsory pit stops. He raced hard for the remainder of the race while struggling for balance in the IRWIN Commodore, and settled for a 16th place finish.

In the drivers standings, Winterbottom has dropped to seventh in the standings on 996 points, while Pye has fallen three spots to 16th on 765 points. In the Teams Championship, Team 18 dropped one spot to seventh on 1736 points.

Team 18 will return to the Reid Park Street Circuit next weekend for the WD-40 Townsville SuperSprint, for a two day event on July 17-18.

QUOTES

Scott Pye, driver – #20 DEWALT Racing Holden ZB Commodore

“Another unlucky day for us, it seems to be the trend at the moment, unfortunately we got caught up in a Lap 1 incident and it broke a steering arm so I was back in the pits at the end of the first lap in the race,” said Scott Pye.

“I rejoined in front of Jamie [Whincup] who was in the lead of the race, and we did the whole 88 laps with him behind me until the last stint, and then finished just behind him and Shane [Van Gisbergen], so the pace was top three, but we were three laps down.

“I’m gutted at the moment, it’s hard for everyone but we’ll keep our heads down and come back next week.”

“The speed is a positive that we can take with us to the back-to-back event this weekend. Phil and the crew gave me a car today that was really fast, so that is the most important thing, we’ll come back next week knowing we can come back and fight again.”