Bahrain: SBR Saturday notes

Courtney races to second at Bahrain Desert 400 JELD-WEN Motorsport's James Courtney has raced his way to second place in Saturday's third and final race at the Gulf Air Desert 400 in Bahrain, securing fourth position for the round. Team-mate...

Courtney races to second at Bahrain Desert 400

JELD-WEN Motorsport's James Courtney has raced his way to second place in Saturday's third and final race at the Gulf Air Desert 400 in Bahrain, securing fourth position for the round.

Team-mate SP Tools Racing's Shane van Gisbergen recovered from a disappointing race two to fight his way back to tenth in race three and tenth for the round.

Strategy and slick passing moves were the key to Courtney's result in race three, the JELD-WEN Motorsport driver starting the race from seventh on the grid.

The JELD-WEN Motorsport crew made the decision to run long in this afternoon's final 32-lap race, holding off on car four's compulsory pit stop until lap 19.

The strategy enabled Courtney to lead the race and make the most of a clear track and when the JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon rejoined the race after his stop, he was in fifth position with fresher tyres than his rivals.

Courtney produced a great show in the final ten laps, passing Mark Winterbottom and Russell Ingall and engaging in an exciting battle with Craig Lowndes. Courtney eventually got the better of Lowndes and led him to the finish line behind race winner Jamie Whincup.

Van Gisbergen had it all to do in the third race, starting from 26th on the grid. The 19-year-old kept his head early and made steady progress through the field, climbing to 15th before taking a pit option on lap 11 in an effort to break away from traffic.

The SP Tools Racing driver kept out of trouble mid-race when several cars tangled at the safety car restart on lap 23. Van Gisbergen continued on, securing tenth position with six laps remaining and holding on until the chequered flag.

The second race was a tougher one for the SBR Falcons. JELD-WEN Motorsport's James Courtney made a fantastic start from fifth on the grid to move up to third on the first lap and settled in fourth for the opening laps.

The JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon pitted on lap seven and rejoined the race in the same order, behind race leader Jamie Whincup, Russell Ingall and Craig Lowndes.

The top four held their positions for the majority of the race until a safety car period on lap 16 brought Mark Winterbottom and Lee Holdsworth in to the mix, the pair pitting for fresh tyres under the safety car.

Tyres were the difference in the closing laps, with Courtney unable to hold off the hard charging Winterbottom and a battle pack of Steven Richards and Todd Kelly as his rear tyres went off.

Courtney eventually bought the JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon home in seventh position.

Van Gisbergen had an even more difficult race, the 19-year-old starting from seventh but slipping back before his compulsory stop on lap eight as he struggled with tyres.

His race took a turn for the worse at the restart on lap 19 as the SP Tools Racing driver locked the brakes and tagged Rick Kelly. The contact damaged his front and rear left tyres and earned him a drive-through-penalty, his two visits to pit lane putting him at the rear of the field.

Courtney's points haul has seem him overtake Rick Kelly in the V8 Supercar drivers championship standings, moving into seventh position. Van Gisbergen remains in 15th.

Stone Brothers Racing will now return to its Gold Coast base to prepare for round 13 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, the Falken Tasmania Challenge, on 21-23 November 2008.

James Courtney, #4, JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon

"We had a really good last race.

"My engineers came up with a good strategy and I think the safety car period late in the race did help us; it bunched up the field and gave me a chance to pass people on fresher tyres.

"It was the opposite in race two, where we were forced to hold off others on newer tyres so it goes around.

"We had a tyre strategy for the whole weekend which we stuck to but I think the JELD-WEN Falcon was a bit better in the last race which made the difference.

"I had a lot of fun this weekend, I had some great battles out there, it was great to do some racing.

"We got a good points haul for the championship, hopefully Tasmania will be good to us."

Shane van Gisbergen, #9, SP Tools Racing Falcon

"Race three was much better for us today; I got a good start and passed a lot of cars on the opening lap.

"We were forced to pit early which wasn't the plan but we were getting held up and had to get out of there.

"We really struggled with tyres in race two but the SP Tools Racing Falcon was good in race three.

"We were able to climb back to tenth and finish inside the ten for the round."

-credit: sbr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup , Todd Kelly , Mark Winterbottom , Lee Holdsworth , Shane van Gisbergen