COURTNEY FIFTH IN BATHURST 1000 & CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD REDUCED James Courtney's lead in this year's V8 Supercar Championship was reduced to 125 points after he and Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon team-mate Warren Luff finished fifth in today's Bathurst...
COURTNEY FIFTH IN BATHURST 1000 & CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD REDUCED
James Courtney's lead in this year's V8 Supercar Championship was reduced to 125 points after he and Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon team-mate Warren Luff finished fifth in today's Bathurst 1000 endurance race.
Courtney and Luff emerged the highest placed Ford team in the 161-lap race, won by Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife in a Team Vodafone Holden Commodore.
JELD-WEN sponsored Courtney scored 222 championship points for his result at Bathurst, which boosted his overall tally to 2,323 after 10 of the 14 rounds.
His closest rival in the title chase, Team Vodafone's Jamie Whincup, was second at Bathurst and earned 276 points. Whincup had trailed Courtney by 179 points before today's race, and reduced the margin by 54 points with a new total of 2,198.
Courtney started today's 1,000km race seventh and was seventh during his 23-lap opening stint, which ended with a lengthy pit-stop to replace a damaged front splitter on his FG Falcon.
Luff began his first stint in 28th place and he and Courtney then battled their way back into the top 10 over the next 100 laps. They made a total of seven pit-stops, the last of them on lap 135 under Safety Car conditions.
Courtney began his final stint in fourth, but dropped to fifth after being passed by Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team). In the closing laps Courtney regained fourth after Tander's team-mate Will Davison crashed, but he was relegated back to fifth when passed by Jason Bright (Trading Post Commodore).
The 11th round of the championship will be the Gold Coast 600 from October 22-24.
Race (1,000km - 161 laps): 5th, with Warren Luff (best lap 2-mins 9.319-secs)
Fastest lap of race: Jason Bright (Trading Post Holden Commodore) 2-mins 8.821-secs
COURTNEY QUOTES: "We came here to win, not to come fifth so it's a little disappointing. However, it was a very good effort by everyone in the team to fight back the way we did. We lost time with the splitter problem at the start, but this is Bathurst and these things happen here The Safety Cars near the end bunched us up, but I didn't have the speed to race for the win against Craig (Lowndes) and Jamie (Whincup). We lost some (championship) points to Jamie today, but it could have been worse and I still have a good lead. Now we will regroup for the Gold Coast. It's my 'home' race and I finished on the podium there last year. The track has been changed so that's a new challenge for everyone."
-source: james courtney