Team 18 enlists WAU help for Pye Commodore repairs

The heavily damaged #20 Nulon Racing entry. Picture: Ross Gibb

Team 18 will send Scott Pye’s Nulon Racing Holden to Walkinshaw Andretti United following a mammoth crash at Wanneroo Raceway.

Pye was caught up in a scuffle with Jack Le Brocq coming out of Turn 7 in the early stages of Race 11 earlier today, ending with the #20 making heavy contact with the right-side wall on pit straight.

The incident sparked a red flag and ruled Pye out of the remainder of the event.

There remains doubt whether the car will even be ready in time for a scheduled test day at Winton Motor Raceway on May 10, less than a fortnight out from Round 5 of the Repco Supercars Championship at the same location.

With severe left-rear damage, Team 18 will call on WAU to use their chassis jig in the repair process.

“We’ll get back to Melbourne on Wednesday and get it on a jig as soon as we possibly can on Friday morning and we’ll get it back in top shape for Winton,” said team owner Charlie Schwerkolt.

“We were looking at getting two drivers to help get it back quicker but it’s probably not necessary now, so we’ll get the truck home on Wednesday and get it on the jig.

“At this stage we’re planning to test next Tuesday but we’ll see how the damage comes out on Friday and after the weekend.

“It’s really important for us to test, our speed is lacking in some areas, particularly qualifying, so we’ll push on with our plans and continue to assess it over this week.”

Overall, Schwerkolt described the Perth SuperNight as “absolutely gut-wrenching” and “one of the worst rounds for many years for us”.

A DNF in Race 11 and not starting Race 12 has seen Pye plummet to 18th in the championship, while the squad has also lost seventh to Matt Stone Racing in the teams’ standings.

“It’s been a disaster here in Perth, we crashed in the first race and couldn’t make the second race,” said Pye.

“It was a fairly big hit. The boys will have their work come out for them, I feel terrible for them as it’s a massive repair job for the next event.

“I feel for the crew, Charlie and all our partners. It’s not what we want, we’ll rebuild and come back stronger.”

It wasn’t exactly rosy on the other side of the garage either, Mark Winterbottom copping two penalties across the day and managing just 16th and 20th in the two races.

“We under-delivered, I think our race pace was reasonable but our qualifying pace was not there, so when you’re a bit off the pace in qualifying you’re at the back of the pack and there’s a lot of work to do from there,” said Winterbottom.

“We’ll work harder, we can’t make excuses and we’ll go again.

“The good part about our sport is there’s another opportunity and it’s coming pretty quick at Winton.”

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