Pye needed 50 quali lap stint in Bathurst podium surge

Scott Pye and Warren Luff

Scott Pye felt like he produced 50 qualifying laps back-to-back as he tried to chase down Craig Lowndes for the victory and hold off Scott McLaughlin in the closing stages of Sunday’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

For the second successive year Pye and co-driver Warren Luff climbed onto the second step of the rostrum for Walkinshaw Andretti United.

To get there, he had to withstand intense pressure from Scott McLaughlin in the Shell V-Power racing entry, with the top three lapping in the 2:06s bracket for much of the final third of the race.

“The second last stint where the gap was nine seconds to Dave and we closed it right up to six, the speed was good,” Pye admitted.

“I remember just wishing that they (David Reynolds and Lowndes) would either back off or Scotty (McLaughlin) would back off and we could have a bit of a breather because every time I’d come out of the Elbow I just had to breathe a sigh of relief, and then work out how I was going to do it again because the pace that whole stint felt like we just did 50 quali laps to the flag.

“It was unbelievably fun but it’s definitely one that, around here, you treat this place with respect whether it’s the first lap or lap 161.”

Co-driver Luff admits his nerves got the better of him in the closing stages, and instead retreated from the garage.

“I was so nervous towards the end of the race I can’t tell you about the last 20 laps of our race; I can tell you a lot about the F1,” he admitted.

“I was sort of pacing around the garage and sort of wearing holes in the floor, so I went and sat in the caravan and watched the middle part of the F1 race because I was just too nervous to stand in the garage.

“We didn’t have a fast car in qualifying but again our guys never gave up, they kept working and got the strategy calls 100 percent right.

“Obviously this year with the brakes changing in the race it was always going to throw a bit of a curve ball with everyone. Full credit to our guys they did an exceptional job all day.”

The sister Walkinshaw Andretti United entry of James Courtney and Jack Perkins was the first out of Sunday’s race after it suffered an engine failure on lap 34.

Pye and Luff now sit fourth in the Pirtek Enduro Cup with 480 points after two of three rounds, with the final round next weekend’s Vodafone Gold Coast 600.

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