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Team 18 unlocks oval pace in Supercars ESeries

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom and DEWALT Racing’s Scott Pye both showed strong speed on the high-speed ovals of Charlotte and Daytona in Round 7 of the BP Supercars All Stars ESeries.

The seventh night of ESeries was the first time the Supercars Championship virtually raced on an oval course, and the first time rolling starts were used in the All Stars ESeries. Race 21 ran the full oval track at Charlotte Motor Speedway while Races 22 and 23 utilised Daytona’s road course as used in the 24 Hours of Daytona sports car race.

Qualifying was impressive for both drivers in what were the tightest sessions of the series with half a second splitting the whole field at Charlotte. Winterbottom posted his best qualifying effort in the ESeries to start Race 21 and 22 from 11th and 12th respectively. Pye qualified back in 23rd at Charlotte but converted his speed at Daytona to post his personal best qualifying to start Race 22 in fifth.

Winterbottom held position and had a clean race to score his third top ten finish of the series. Pye made amends for his lacklustre start position to demonstrate his strong speed and avoided carnage ahead to charge all the way through the pack from 23rd to seventh in Race 21. However it all unravelled on the final lap when he couldn’t avoid an incident in front and crashed out to finish 16th.

In Race 22 Pye locked up and tagged Scott McLaughlin into Turn 1 on Lap 2, and dropped out of the top ten to redress the position. On Lap 7 he was tangled up again at Turn 1 when Winterbottom was caught up in a concertina into Turn 1 with Fabian Coulthard, Bryce Fullwood and Lando Norris. Pye was trapped on the outside and suffered enough damage to hinder his straight line performance and dropped back to 22nd, while Winterbottom crossed the line in 16th but was handed a 55 second penalty for his part in the incident.

Both drivers had strong comebacks in the final race as Winterbottom charged from 23rd to 13th and Pye from 21st to 11th respectively.

The BP Supercars All Stars ESeries continues next Wednesday May 27 with Round 8 heading to iconic Formula 1 circuits Imola in San Marino and Interlagos in Brazil. Watch qualifying live from 6pm on Fox Sports 506 with racing commencing from 7pm. It can also be viewed live on 10 Play, Scott Pye’s Twitch account and the DEWALT Racing and IRWIN Racing Facebook pages.


Mark Winterbottom, driver #18 IRWIN Racing Holden Commodore ZB

"We were actually pretty quick this week and it was great to get a top-ten result on the wild oval race at Charlotte," said Winterbottom.

"We didn’t have a lot of luck go our way in the second race of the night Daytona and copped a 55 second penalty when Fullwood spun, Coulthard hit him and I cleaned them up. I asked for an explanation on that because it put me at the back for the last race.

"We were definitely more competitive than we have been previously, I must be getting excited in the ESeries because the real life racing is coming back soon!"

Scott Pye, driver #20 DEWALT Racing Holden Commodore ZB

"We had much better speed tonight so it was definitely more enjoyable to be competitive," said Scott Pye.

"The first race at Charlotte was great and we were on for our best result in the series, but we got caught up in an accident on the final lap which was disappointing.

"It was good to qualify fifth for Daytona and even with our mistakes we were able to come back through the field.

"Hopefully we can carry this speed through the next few rounds and end the ESeries on a high before we go back racing in the DEWALT Racing Commodore in the real life Supercars Championship."

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