TEAM 18’s hopes of ending the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship on a high in Adelaide have received a boost.
It had been expected that Mark Winterbottom would move to a third race engineer in as many race meetings, but that will not be the case after all.
Manuel Sanchez parted ways with Team 18 after a disastrous Bathurst 1000 in which the #18 DeWalt Camaro ran out of fuel and was not classified as a finisher.
Matt Saunders was drafted in as Sanchez’s replacement for the Gold Coast 500 in a one-off capacity.
Winterbottom enjoyed a solid Surfers Paradise round, placing 12th and ninth in the two races, but was open about the fact that Saunders was unlikely for Adelaide.
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That’s because Saunders works day-to-day as operations manager at Malibu Boats Australia, which he complements by race engineering Super2 regular Nash Morris.
Super2 did not compete on the Gold Coast but will in Adelaide.
Regardless, V8 Sleuth understands Saunders will again guide Winterbottom this weekend.
Team 18 has been the subject of recent speculation with Adrian Burgess widely expected to join the Chevrolet squad after he finishes up as Supercars head of motorsport.
Burgess will not attend Adelaide amid the fallout.
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Team 18 has an appropriate vacancy following the post-Bathurst resignation of team manager Bruin Beasley.
Adelaide marks Scott Pye’s final round as a Team 18 driver. Winterbottom will have David Reynolds as his 2024 teammate.
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