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HomeNewsWinterbottom talks Team 18’s Gold Coast defiance

Winterbottom talks Team 18’s Gold Coast defiance

AFTER a Repco Bathurst 1000 disaster and a sudden period of upheaval, Team 18 responded commendably at the Gold Coast.

Scott Pye finished Race 1 in sixth and was set for a similar result the following day before being eliminated in the controversial James Golding flick-spin incident.

Mark Winterbottom was 12th in the Saturday leg before shining on Sunday, taking fifth in the Shootout and ninth in the race despite a pitstop mishap.

All in all, a solid haul for a squad which had parted ways with team manager Bruin Beasley plus Winterbottom’s race and data engineers, Manuel Sanchez and Julia McGarry, in the lead-up.

Matt Saunders was drafted in as Winterbottom’s race engineer at Surfers Paradise on a one-round basis.

Saunders is unavailable for a full-time role given his status as operations manager at Malibu Boats Australia, and he’s due to return to engineering Super2 regular Nash Morris in Adelaide.

Winterbottom confirmed he may end up with a third different race engineer in as many rounds come Adelaide, but was upbeat about the team’s resilience on display at the Gold Coast.

“It was good. A bit has gone on but Matt’s a good friend of mine and a ripper guy, we just had him for the weekend,” he told V8 Sleuth.

“It makes it tough but obviously we have got a bit of work to do and opportunities and stuff like that. It was a good fightback.

Mark Winterbottom. Pic: Supplied

“We tried different set-ups all weekend to Scott’s car. He was fast but I didn’t want to just jump back into what we knew, I wanted to keep trucking on with something different.

“We had really good pace in that race (on Sunday) until the pitstop drama and then it feels like a brake duct has fallen off because I lost all of my brake pedal. We should have been P5 really, it would have been a good result.”

Winterbottom did at least enjoy seeing former and future teammate David Reynolds end a near five-year victory drought.

“Dave is a good driver. I never doubted his ability,” said ‘Frosty’.

“I’m excited to see what he’s going to bring next year as well.”

Reynolds will join from Grove Racing on a multi-year deal, while Pye returns to Triple Eight as a co-driver.

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