IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom scored a top five finish in Race 13 while DEWALT Racing’s Scott Pye recovered to finish 13th and 16th after a challenging conclusion to the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown.

Both cars commenced the day strong in qualifying, with Winterbottom to start 4th and 8th for the two races, with Pye 9th and 6th.

Winterbottom got off to a strong start from the second row in Race 13, heading three wide into Turn 1 alongside both Red Bull Holdens before settling into fourth spot.

He made his compulsory pit stop on Lap 12 and dropped a spot in the pit stop cycle to Mostert, before closing back in on Mostert by the end of the race to take the chequered flag in fifth.

In Race 14, Winterbottom stopped as soon as the pit window on Lap 5, and held position after the pit stop cycle to finish the final race in seventh.

After Pye started ninth for Race 13, he ran a longer first stint to allow time for the team to combat a heating issue during his compulsory pit stop. Pye rejoined in 20th position and charged back to take the finish in 13th.

In the final race, a jammed wheel nut during the pit stop caused Pye to rejoin back in 21st, before he recovered to finish in 16th position.

Following the Darwin event, Winterbottom has maintained his sixth position in the Drivers Standings on 861 points, while Pye fell two spots to 13th on 690 points. In the teams battle, Team 18 has stayed fifth on 1551 points.

The next event of the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship heads to North Queensland for the NTI Townsville 500 on 9-11 July.

RESULTS & QUOTES

Mark Winterbottom, #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore 

Qualifying (Race13): 4th, Race 13: 5th
Qualifying (Race14): 8th, Race 14: 7th
Drivers Championship: 6th (861 points)

“It was definitely a better Sunday than Saturday was,” said Mark Winterbottom

“Yesterday was tough, but we bounced back with some reasonable results.

“Two top tens in qualifying, a fifth and seventh in the races and a clean car to finish the weekend.

“We leave Darwin happy with the day and now we get to go home back to Victoria which is great news for the team.