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Team 18 ready to bounce back at The Bend

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom and DEWALT Racing’s Scott Pye are preparing to take on a shortened layout of The Bend Motorsport Park this weekend, with drivers predicting three closely fought races around the tighter ‘West' circuit this weekend at the OTR SuperSprint.

The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship reaches its penultimate event of the season at The OTR SuperSprint, as Winterbottom looks to bounce back following a challenging weekend at the Repco SuperSprint.

The Team 18 crew have been working hard in the week to repair the IRWIN Tools Commodore after it was an innocent victim during the Lap 1 carnage in Race 27. Some of the damaged parts were sent back to Queensland to be repaired in time for the Bathurst 1000 in three weeks.

Pye had a positive event in the DEWALT ‘Engineered by Powers’ Commodore last week at the Repco SuperSprint, nabbing results of seventh, 13th and sixth in the three races, after starting 17th, 20th and ninth respectively.

The Team 18 engineers have continued their efforts to improve the qualifying setup, with Pye and Winterbottom looking for better performance in their one-lap qualifying runs.

The ‘West’ layout shortcuts the ‘International’ layout at the Turn 6 hairpin, instead changing to a sharp right-hand hairpin to rejoin prior to what was Turn 14 at the pair of left-hand corners in the circuit infield. In doing so, it avoids the long right-hand sweeper at Turns 7-8-9-10 and some of the fast-and-flowing corners that resulted in severe tyre blistering during the first weekend of racing.

Teams will again be allocated five sets of soft tyres for qualifying and the three 32-lap races, with a minimum of two tyres to be changed in the single compulsory pit stop.

The Charlie Schwerkolt-owned squad currently sit seventh in a tight battle in the teams championship, while the drivers standings sees Pye narrowly ahead of Winterbottom in 10th and 12th respectively with two events remaining.

Track action begins on Saturday with Practice 1 at 9:35 am ACST (+30 minutes for NSW, VIC and QLD), before Race 28 of the championship at 3:40pm. Races 29 and 30 on Sunday will start at 11:50pm and 2:20pm respectively.

This weekend’s action can be viewed both days live on Fox Sports 506 and Kayo Sports from 9:30am CST, with highlights on 10 Bold at 9:50pm CST each night.

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