Pye has finished the first day's racing at the ITM 500

November 7, 2015

PUKEKOHE, NEW ZEALAND, 07 NOVEMBER 2015: The MAN Truck and Bus Falcon FG X of Scott Pye has finished the first day's racing at the ITM 500 with two strong Top 10 finishes. Qualifying for Race 1 also delivered Scott's career best result with a 3rd place start for the first 21 lap sprint.

The DJR Team Penske Ford got away well but Shane Van Gisbergen was a little stronger off the line and dropped Scott back to fourth. Pye consolidated his position well despite coming under pressure from Craig Lowndes for the majority of the race.

A brief Safety Car period bunched the field, but still Pye was able to keep Lowndes at bay. With just two laps to go, Scott went deep under brakes into Turn 5, and was forced to use the chicane returning to the track still holding his place over the #888 Holden. Pye crossed the line in fourth but the Stewards ruled that he gained an advantage and relegated him to fifth behind Lowndes.

The second 21 Lap Sprint saw the MAN Truck and Bus Ford start from P8. It was the first time the Dunlop Soft tyre had been used at this track and the first half of the race did not suggest what was about to unfold. A tyre explosion on race leader Lowndes bought the Safety Car out for a number of laps.

Once racing resumed there were battles all through the field and Pye was able to keep future team mate Fabian Coulthard at bay to cross the line in position eight.

A fifth and eighth placings were very positive results for the DJR Team Penske crew and sets up a good foundation for the 200km final on Sunday.

Scott Pye – No 17 MAN Falcon FG X
"Qualifying for Race 1 went really well and P3 was a great result for the MAN Falcon. We settled into P4 and battled pretty hard with Craig (Lowndes) after the Safety Car period right until the end. It was very disappointing to have my fourth position taken away as I think it contradicted what we were told in the driver's briefing. But we had to cop it and look forward to the second race.

"The Soft tyre qualifying was not quite as good we had hoped, and I started out of P8. The Soft tyre is so much fun to race on and I'm sure we would all like to race on it full time. It makes the racing more exciting because you can take some more risks.

"We ended up with two solid Top 10's today and I feel we did improve the car. I am really looking forward to tomorrow."