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Team 18 star in sixth and eighth at Bathurst 1000

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

DEWALT Racing’s pairing of Scott Pye and Dean Fiore and IRWIN Racing’s combo of Mark Winterbottom and James Golding have placed sixth and eighth respectively in Team 18’s best finish at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

As the final round of the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, this result ensured Pye and Winterbottom sealed ninth and tenth respectively in the drivers standings, as the teams championship saw Team 18 rise to sixth place in its first year as a two-car squad.

In doing so, Team 18 has leapt past Kelly Racing, Brad Jones Racing and Walkinshaw Andretti United in the teams points which dictate the all-important pit lane order for the following season.

The day started dramatically for the DEWALT Racing Holden, with Dean Fiore parked up with low oil pressure on Mountain Straight on the out-lap of the traditional 20-minute warm-up session.

This proved to only be a failure of the oil pressure sensor, which the team repaired before taking the start.

West Australian Fiore made a clean start from 12th and drove the opening 48 laps, longer than any co-driver in the first stint, before Pye jumped in for a double stint.

Pye spent the majority of his laps in fuel conservation mode, but steadily climbed into the top ten and sat ninth with 50 laps remaining when he made some ground on the front-runners.

Pye passed Jack Le Brocq for eighth at Forrests Elbow on Lap 135. and then Brodie Kostecki at Griffins Bend for seventh place before making his final pit stop with 21 laps remaining.

Pye passed team mate Winterbottom for sixth on Lap 145 and withstood the final two safety car restarts to finish narrowly behind series champion Scott McLaughlin in sixth. This was co-driver Fiore’s personal-best finish in the Bathurst 1000.

Starting 18th, a gear position sensor issue on the start meant Golding took off in the IRWIN Holden in second gear when the dash was reading neutral, and he ran last for the opening three laps of the race.

Golding quickly made amends from his start and charged through the back markers and made up 11 positions to 14th place before handing over to Winterbottom on Lap 14.

As the track gripped up the IRWIN Commodore came to life and they climbed up to sixth by the halfway mark of the race.

Winterbottom remained fifth ahead of teammate Pye after the final stop, but lost a spot to Pye and then Holdsworth on Lap 145 and came home in a strong eighth place.

With the Bathurst 1000 concluding the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, the Team 18 crew will return to their homes in Victoria tomorrow for the first since they left 105 days ago.

Team 18 will continue to field two cars in the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship for Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye, with further announcements regarding next season to be made in due course.

Attention now turns to the Repco Supercars Pro ESeries, where James Golding will represent Team 18 in the online racing competition commencing on October 28.

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