IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom continued his string of top ten finishes in his return to racing in Race 10 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Winterbottom dropped three spots from seventh to finish tenth while he and the team elected to qualify and race on hard tyres in an effort to save their soft tyres and bring a strategic advantage into Sunday’s two races.

Winterbottom found early pace on the hard tyre and progressed through the initial two parts of Qualifying to make it through to the shootout from 7th, where he eventually started from. Winterbottom stopped on Lap 12 and was largely untroubled for the remainder of the race.

Team 18 will return to action tomorrow for Races 11 and 12 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship for the Sydney Supersprint. Qualifying will be live on Fox Sports 506 and Kayo Sports from 10:30am.

Mark Winterbottom, driver #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore

“All in all if I thought we could save our soft tyres for tomorrow and come away with a top ten then I would be really happy with that,” said Mark Winterbottom.

“Our hard tyre pace in Qualifying was great, but we didn’t quite have what we wanted in the race to push any further while trying to conserve for tomorrow.

“Credit to the team for our strategy and pit stop to come away with a good result tonight.

“Best of all we had a clean race, the car is straight and we’ll tune it up overnight and discuss our plan of attack for the two races tomorrow.