Milestone man Winterbottom's 'toughest weekend'

10 May 2021
Good fortune eluded Winterbottom at the OTR SuperSprint
3 mins by James Pavey

On a weekend he brought up a unique piece of Supercars history, fortune eluded Mark Winterbottom at the OTR SuperSprint.

Winterbottom began the weekend with the quickest time in Practice 1, surviving contact with Shane van Gisbergen to set the pace.

However, a power steering drama in Saturday qualifying threatened to ruin a remarkable piece of history he brought up in the Sunday finale.

Race 11, which was won by former Tickford teammate Cameron Waters, marked Winterbottom’s 500th consecutive race start.

However, his hopes of a strong result were dashed following contact from Race 9 winner Andre Heimgartner.


Winterbottom was turned around, and recovered to 18th; a bitter pill to swallow after finishes of 25th and ninth.

“One of the toughest weekends I’ve had for a long time,” the 2015 champion said.

"Obviously yesterday was tough with the power steering failure and today getting hit and spun around in that last race.

One top 10 was good but not the results we were coming here for.”

Winterbottom retained sixth in the standings, but dropped more ground to series leader van Gisbergen.

The 38-time race winner left the Bathurst season-opener 69 points adrift; through four rounds, he is now 415 points off the pace.

Winterbottom spins in Race 11


He threatened for Saturday victory at Sandown, but was turned around the following day. At Symmons Plains, he scored two top 10s.

Winterbottom said a looming test day at Winton, which will host the next event across May 29-30, could help the #18 IRWIN entry unlock more speed after a trying few events.

“We have a test day coming up before Winton which is crucial for us to unlock more speed,” he said.

"Scott [Pye, teammate] had some good pace in that last race so we’ll look at what he did and look ahead to Winton.”

Pye’s DEWALT entry continued to march forward on Sunday, with the 31-year-old clinching two top 10s.

The #20 pilot climbed nine spots from 19th to 10th in Race 10, and improved again from 15th to ninth in Race 11.


"Pretty solid day for us with two top 10 finishes, some good points and we closed the gap to P6 in the championship,” said Pye, who moved to 11th overall.

“Our season is starting to take shape now, if we can continue with the pace we had in the last race it will be really promising.

“We started 15th, went long and just through car speed we were able to make our way into the top 10.

“Hopefully we can carry on the little changes we made going to our next event at Winton.”

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to Victoria for the Winton SuperSprint across May 29-30. Tickets are available here.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo with highlights on 7 and 7 Plus.

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