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What sparked Team 18’s turnaround

A FUNDAMENTAL gain Team 18 has made with its Gen3 cars is fuelling hope that its Darwin Triple Crown breakthrough will not be a one-off.

While other Chevrolet teams were flying, Team 18 had limped through Round 3 in Perth and on paper were only slightly better at Symmons Plains.

Mark Winterbottom’s results line across those events read 18th, 18th, 19th, 12th, 13th, eighth (listed chronologically).

Hidden Valley has been a historically happing hunting ground for Team 18 but the squad is sure there’s more to Winterbottom’s emotional Saturday race win than that.

“Perth was a struggle and Tassie we had some ups and downs,” team manager Bruin Beasley told V8 Sleuth.

“We’ve had a pretty big two or three weeks, we’ve regrouped, sat down and there’s been a lot of discussion, a lot of soul-searching and I think we have come out, we’ve gone a new direction which seems to work here – hopefully it works everywhere.

“We have fundamentally fixed the problem we’ve had the whole time so hopefully it continues.”

Winterbottom takes the chequered flag in Race 1 of the 2023 Darwin Triple Crown. Pic: Ross Gibb

So, what exactly is the weakness they’ve addressed?

“We just struggled for drive,” Beasley said.

“It’s been one of those things everywhere we’ve been struggling for drive and that’s why we did that test day (pre-Tasmania) to try to solve it.

“We found some stuff and it was better but I think what we have done now has fixed it – but I don’t want to get ahead of myself!”

Sunday in Darwin was a little more challenging for Team 18, although Winterbottom did vie for a Race 3 podium before drifting to seventh.

He is now 11th in the championship, with teammate Scott Pye holding 15th.

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