After starting on the two front rows on the grid, DEWALT Racing’s Scott Pye and IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom have recovered to finish 21st and 22nd respectively after a challenging first race of the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown.
The day started incredibly strongly in Qualifying for Race 12, with both cars in the top four on the grid for the first time in the team’s history.
Winterbottom scored his best qualifying effort of the season thus far in second place and only a tenth of a second off pole position. It was his first front row start since his pole at Symmons Plains in 2019.
Pye was less than two tenths of a second behind Winterbottom on the second row, scoring his best result in a Supercars shootout in the process.
On approach to the grid to take the start of Race 12, the IRWIN Racing Commodore cut out with a suspected electrical issue. Winterbottom edged pole sitter Anton De Pasquale off the start before the car cut out again on the run to Turn 1.
Pye sat third as the leading cars closed the gap into Turn 1, resulting in unavoidable contact with De Pasquale, who Winterbottom also collected on his way through.
Pye pitted to replace a front splitter under safety car before heading back out to finish the race and earn some crucial championship points.
Team 18 will return to Hidden Valley tomorrow for Qualifying for Races 13 and 14 from 9:45am AEST/9:15am local time, with the races kicking off from 12:25pm AEST/11:55am local.
RESULTS & QUOTES
Scott Pye, #20 DEWALT Racing Holden ZB Commodore
Qualifying (Race12): 4th, Race 12: 21st
“Rough day today,” said Scott Pye.
“I made a mistake into Turn 1 going for a gap that wasn’t there when I arrived. I got a drive-through penalty and damaged the car which put us out of contention.
“I’m gutted and I feel for the crew, you don’t have many opportunities like that when we have such a fast car and I hope I can repay the team tomorrow.
“The boys did an amazing job to get me back into the race which allowed us to get a bit of information for tomorrow.
“I made a good start, and for myself and Frosty on the top two rows I would have loved to come away with some silverware, but the most important thing is we have car speed
“We’re still in a good position, hopefully we qualify well and put ourselves in a position to right our wrongs from today.”
SCHEDULE – DARWIN TRIPLE CROWN – JUNE 18-20
ALL TIMES ACST, UTC +9:30
Practice 1 – 11:25am (40 minutes)
Practice 2 – 1:20pm (30 minutes)
Qualifying (Race 12) – 11:35am (three-part)
Race 12 – 3:25pm (38 laps)
Qualifying (Race 13) – 9:15am (10 minutes)
Qualifying (Race 14) – 9:30am (10 minutes)
Race 13 – 11:55am (38 laps)
Race 14 – 3:25pm (38 laps)