Mark Winterbottom has made a quiet resurgence in form amid Team 18’s fightback.
Winterbottom scored three top 10 finishes in as many starts at the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown.
It extended a run of top 10s to five consecutive, adding to his dual Sunday top 10s at Winton.
His weekend haul of 194 points was his best of the season by some margin, besting the 166 scored in Tasmania.
It’s a stark contrast to his start to 2022, which featured just four top 10s in 13 races.
Winterbottom left Winton 14th in the points, 172 points behind eighth placed Brodie Kostecki.
After Darwin, he is 11th overall, and just 90 points behind Kostecki, who retained eighth.
Winterbottom paid tribute to his team for the turnaround, with Team 18 making key hires of late.
In the last few weeks, the team has hired a new Team Manager and Crew Chief.
“Three top 10 results is not too bad of a weekend, fifth seventh and ninth,” he said.
"The car had pace, and we moved back up in the points with a trouble-free run.
“It was so hard to pass, the heat really stops the cars from producing the ability to make passes.
“We got caught out in the strategy just a bit at the end too, I got stuck behind [Will] Brown.”
It was a tougher story for Scott Pye, who again raced without luck.
Pye secured a solid sixth place in the Saturday race before he was wiped out in the Race 17 melee.
Extensive damage ruled Pye out of the final Sunday race of the weekend for the second time in three rounds.
Regardless, Winterbottom was impressed with how his team has turned a corner after a luckless start to 2022.
"We have come a long way,” the 2015 champion said.
“The harmony and the workmanship in the team has been amazing and we’re keeping them busy as drivers.
"They did an amazing job and I think we have got good things to come.”
The 2022 season will resume at the NTI Townsville 500. Purchase your tickets now.