DEWALT Racing’s Scott Pye charged his way from 18th to seventh in the opening race of the WD-40 Townsville SuperSprint, while IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom’s luck ran out after he was caught in an incident on the opening lap of Race 17.

Pye kicked off proceedings by topping the sole practice session of the weekend with a 1:12.9331 benchmark.

Winterbottom improved from practice to qualifying to start Race 17 in 14th position, but as the track temperature rose and conditions evolved, Pye dropped back down the order to qualify in 18th.

As the race got underway, Winterbottom was caught up in the concertina at Turn 2 and was hit from behind, requiring a pit stop for a blown tyre.

While his race pace was competitive and showed a strong improvement from last week’s Townsville 500, Winterbottom brought the IRWIN Commodore home a lap down on the field in 20th position.

Pye avoided the incidents around him to gain six positions on the first lap alone, and moved up to ninth place before the pit stop cycle commenced. After taking three tyres in his stop, Pye rejoined the field in 12th position, before he charged his way through to finish in a strong seventh place.

Team 18 will return to the Reid Park Street Circuit tomorrow for Races 18 and 19 of the Repco Supercars Championship commencing at 12:45pm and 3:40pm respectively, live on Fox Sports 506 and Kayo Sports.

RESULTS & QUOTES

Mark Winterbottom, driver – #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore

Practice: 17th (1:13.6216)
Qualifying: 14th (1:13.4246)
Race 17: 20th (fastest lap: 1:14.5471)

“It certainly wasn’t my day after the start of the race,” said Winterbottom.

“I got drilled from behind by Coulthard and pushed into Goddard and then sandwiched in, it was all a bit of a shambles off the start.

“We were the fifth quickest car in that race on our pace, but we just had no track position, we were miles down the order.

“We blew a tyre, had to pit and then ran 37 laps before we pitted and put two tyres on at the end.

“We had a fast car which was good, I spent all last weekend without one, just not our day on track today.”

“Bring on tomorrow where we can use our speed and qualify well and get some good results.”