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The day a wet Pye got the chocolates

THE first win of a driver’s career at the top echelon of the sport is important and that was very much the case for Scott Pye on this day – March 24 – back in 2018 as we take a look at some Supercars history as part of our latest Ryco Rewind.

Now a Red Bull Ampol Racing endurance driver, Pye was then in his second year with the Walkinshaw team that was in its first season racing under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

That year’s Albert Park Supercars event was the first time that championship points were awarded and eventual champ Scott McLaughlin scored the first race win on Friday before Jamie Whincup won the Saturday opener.

But the Saturday afternoon race later that afternoon very nearly turned into a night race, as fading light meant the 25-lapper ended in near darkness having had its start delayed by Formula 1 qualifying running long.

Pye seized the lead after McLaughlin skated off at turn one on lap two and led the rest of the race bar during the pit stop cycle.

But it was far from plain, stress-free sailing to his maiden Supercars race win.

And we lightened this photo up in Photoshop! It was quite dark when Pye crossed the line to win in 2018. Photo: an1images.com / Ross Gibb.

A late rainstorm led to a slippery track and, while others elected to pit for wet weather tyres, Pye, Whincup and a range of others decided to press on and delicately drive their way to the finish.

Pye ran wide in the closing laps and allowed Whincup to close the margin, the former finally hanging on by just 0.2612-seconds to seal his first Supercars race win in his 165th championship race start.

“I’m just speechless. It’s a really special moment,” said Pye in the aftermath of the win, which marked WAU’s first win since the buy-in to the team of United Autosports’ Zak Brown and Richard Dean and Andretti Autosport’s Michael Andretti.

“It was a tough race and to have someone like Jamie behind you, it’s a long way. It means the world. We all have families and work hard for this. It feels like it’s taken a long time.”

Pye stayed with the WAU team through to the end of 2019 before embarking on a four-year stint with Team 18.

The South Australian’s Albert Park 2018 race win remains his only Supercars Championship race win in 340 starts, though he’ll have two prime opportunities to add to it later this year when he joins Red Bull Ampol Racing for the Sandown and Bathurst endurance races.

By the way, the ZB Commodore he drove to victory on this day back in 2018 is on the market here via My105, restored to its Albert Park winning livery.

This story is the latest in our series of Ryco Rewind stories as we take a look back through Australian motorsport history and explore the great races, drivers and cars from the past on the relevant anniversary.

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