Hidden Valley: James Courtney race 1 report

COURTNEY FIFTH & CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD REDUCED TO 87 POINTS Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon driver James Courtney had his lead in this year's V8 Supercar Championship reduced to 87 points after struggling to finish fifth in today's race near ...

COURTNEY FIFTH & CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD REDUCED TO 87 POINTS

Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon driver James Courtney had his lead in this year's V8 Supercar Championship reduced to 87 points after struggling to finish fifth in today's race near Darwin.

Courtney went into the first race in the seventh championship event at Hidden Valley with a 114-point lead over Jamie Whincup (Team Vodafone).

Whincup finished second to Mark Winterbottom (Ford Performance Racing) in today's 42-lap race, scoring 138 championship points, while Courtney earned 111 points. The results left Courtney leading the championship with a tally of 1,578 points, and Whincup second on 1,491.

Courtney, who won all four races in the previous two championship events, started today's race sixth and held fifth position for the opening 11 laps. The JELD-WEN sponsored driver made his pit-stop for fuel and fresh tyres on lap 13. He eventually claimed fifth place after withstanding a lengthy challenge from Tim Slade (Wilson Security Falcon) during the second half of the race.

Before today's race Courtney finished third fastest in qualifying on the 2.9km circuit with a best lap time of 1-minute 9.964-seconds. The 29-year-old dropped to sixth in the Top 10 Shoot Out with a lap of 1-minute 10.208-seconds.

The Hidden Valley event will be completed tomorrow with a qualifying session and a 200km race. All drivers will be able to use one set of soft-compound 'sprint' tyres at any stage during the race, and cars will be fitted with durable 'control' rubber for the remaining laps.

COURTNEY RESULTS:
Qualifying: 3rd (best lap 1-min 9.964-secs)
Top 10 Shoot Out: 6th (best lap 1-min 10.208-secs)
Race 1 (42 laps): 5th (best lap 1-min 11.718-secs)
Fastest lap of race: Jamie Whincup (Team Vodafone) 1-min 11.092-secs

COURTNEY QUOTES: "We've been struggling here with the balance of the car. Then the track gripped up and we got caught out. As soon as the race started I knew I was in trouble so I went into survival mode. I also had a delaminated tyre after the pit stop - there were bits of wire hanging out at the finish. I always want to win, but considering everything that happened fifth wasn't a bad result. Importantly I only dropped 27 points on Jamie (Whincup) in the championship, and it could have been worse. My team is confident the problems will be fixed for tomorrow's race. We have plenty of good tyres left for the second race, possibly more than some of the others. The new 'control' camshaft didn't seem to make much difference to my car. I was able to pull away from cars behind me on the long straight, and our fuel economy was good."

-source: jamescourtney.com.au

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Jamie Whincup , Mark Winterbottom , Tim Slade , Jim Beam