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The big teammate battle flying under the radar

WITH 30 of 34 races in the books for the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship, many matters have more or less shaken out.

That includes almost all intra-team battles for supremacy – as has been said a million times, the golden rule in motorsport is to beat your teammate.

There is one though that is far from resolved and well worth keeping an eye on as the Gold Coast 500 awaits this weekend: the head-to-head qualifying stakes at Team 18.

Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye are locked at 15 apiece in the qualifying arena.

In their previous two seasons as teammates, the honours went to ‘Frosty’ – but now it’s game on, with four sessions remaining across Gold Coast and Adelaide.

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In the championship standings, Winterbottom is six places ahead of Pye, thanks in part to the latter being caught up in various incidents and thus failing to score in seven races this year (the most of any driver).

The duo will both continue at Team 18 next season, for a fourth successive season together.

Winterbottom. Pic: Team 18

Over at Erebus Motorsport, it’s not a done deal in the head-to-head qualifying either as Brodie Kostecki leads Will Brown 16 to 14 (or 15 to 14 if you include Richie Stanaway being the top Erebus qualifier at Bathurst).

James Golding meanwhile can tie Chris Pither as the driver to have led the most qualifying sessions for PremiAir Racing this year if he can outdo the departing Kiwi for the rest of the season.

PremiAir’s mid-season driver change has made for an unusual scoreboard: Pither (12) from Garry Jacobson (10) and Golding (eight).

Shane van Gisbergen, Will Davison, Cam Waters, Chaz Mostert, Andre Heimgartner, David Reynolds and Jack Le Brocq have all built unassailable head-to-head records at their respective teams.

As far as the championship goes, the Shell V-Power Racing Team is the key teammate battle still to be sorted.

Davison’s race-ending crash at the Repco Bathurst 1000 has left him 125 points behind Anton De Pasquale with 600 left up for grabs.

Davison (fourth) last year beat De Pasquale (sixth) in the standings.

Supercars action at the Gold Coast kicks off with practice this Friday.

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