Courtney Chasing Breakthrough First Race Win On Streets Of Adelaide
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2: James Courtney, fresh from a win on debut for the Toll Holden Racing Team, has set his sights on a breakthrough first victory in Adelaide when the V8 Supercar Championship resumes later this month.
The 2010 champion has finished second in three races in the Clipsal 500 since entering the category, and goes into the second round of this year's series from March 18-20 as the current race lap record holder on the 3.2km street circuit.
"I was second in both races in Adelaide last year (2010), so it's time to go one better and get on the top of the podium," said Courtney.
"This is one of our toughest events - I've always had good speed there, but I've also had some big shunts and other dramas."
Courtney, who won the second of two races in this year's championship opener in Abu Dhabi in February, said his confidence for Adelaide had been boosted by the fact HRT team-mate Garth Tander won both races in the 2010 Clipsal 500.
"A year ago Garth and I finished one-two, but we were racing for different teams," said Courtney.
"HRT clearly know how to win in Adelaide, plus our team has good momentum after Abu Dhabi."
"I'm still new to HRT, but we've come out and won straight away, and things will get better and better as we do more races together and keep developing our cars."
Courtney's third and remaining second place in Adelaide was in race one in 2007, his second season as a fulltime V8 Supercar driver, and he also claimed pole position as fastest qualifier that year.
But the JELD-WEN sponsored driver recalled his best previous opportunity to win in Adelaide was the opening race of 2008. He led comfortably until mid-race contact with Jason Richards' Commodore, and eventually finished 16th.
"I had that race 'shot to bits', but then it all went 'pear shaped' when I was lapping another car and we got tangled up," said Courtney.
"It was a massive disappointment, but the next day (race two) was even worse when (Craig) Lowndes and I had a big hit and we both crashed into the concrete wall."
Courtney, who lives on the Gold Coast, said the two 250km races in Adelaide were traditionally among the most physically demanding on the championship calendar for drivers.
"The heat gets trapped between all the concrete barriers and the in-car temperature gets up around 60-degrees," he said.
"It tests your fitness and concentration because if you make a mistake you're going to hit concrete walls."
"These V8 Supercars are big and heavy, and on street circuits like Adelaide you're sliding around on bumps, and dealing with things like running over man-hole covers, white lines, drains, and different cambers."
Courtney holds the race lap record in Adelaide with a time of 1-minute 21.950-seconds. He set the time in race two in 2010.
While Courtney is yet to win in Adelaide, he has accumulated an excellent record on street circuits with championship race victories in Townsville and Sydney and top-three podium finishes in Hamilton in New Zealand, and the Gold Coast. His street circuit results also include winning a race in the non-championship V8 Supercar event at the 2010 Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne.
Despite winning race two in Abu Dhabi, Courtney heads to Adelaide 12th in the championship. That is largely because he finished 26th in race one in Abu Dhabi, four laps down on the leaders, after a lengthy pit-stop for repairs to his car after contact with Jason Bargwanna's Commodore. Courtney was penalised 50 championship points over the incident.
-source: james courtney