Sandown: James Courtney race 1 report

CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER COURTNEY FINISHES FOURTH AT SANDOWN V8 Supercar Championship leader James Courtney maintained his 100-percent finishing record in this year's series with a solid fourth place at Sandown in Melbourne today. Courtney's...

CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER COURTNEY FINISHES FOURTH AT SANDOWN

V8 Supercar Championship leader James Courtney maintained his 100-percent finishing record in this year's series with a solid fourth place at Sandown in Melbourne today.

Courtney's result in his Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon means he is the only driver in the top five in the points who has finished all 23 championship races held to date in the 2010 series.

The JELD-WEN sponsored driver scored 120 championship points in today's opening race of the 13th and penultimate round at Sandown. Courtney's series lead over Jamie Whincup was reduced from 50 points to 32 after the Team Vodafone driver finished second today, behind Paul Dumbrell (Bottle-O Falcon), who won his first championship race.

Today's race was stopped after Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team) crashed on the opening lap. The race was then re-started, but was shortened to 32 laps of the 3.1km circuit.

Courtney, who qualified sixth, held fifth position for the opening six laps, and was second behind Whincup when both made their compulsory pit-stops on lap 13. Once all pit-stops were completed Dumbrell led from Whincup, Mark Winterbottom (Ford Performance Racing), and Courtney. The top four positions remained unchanged and they were separated by just 1.001-seconds at the finish.

The Sandown round will be completed tomorrow with a 200km race, and all cars will be allocated a set of Dunlop's soft-compound Sport Maxx 'sprint' tyres.

COURTNEY RESULTS:
Qualifying - Race 1: 9th (best lap 1-min 10.916-secs)
Top 10 Shoot Out: 6th (lap time 1-min 11.337-secs)
Race 1 Result (32 laps): 4th (best lap 1-min 12.141-secs)
Fastest lap of race: Jamie Whincup (Team Vodafone) 1-min 11.434-secs

COURTNEY QUOTES: "We were left behind in qualifying after track temperatures went up, and I just scraped into the (Top 10) Shoot Out. The car was much better in the race. After the pit-stops we had a good race at the front and everyone played fair. I also had to keep an eye on Russell (Ingall) who was all over the back of me. He's the last guy you want behind you in that situation. I was pleased for 'PD' (Paul Dumbrell). It was good for him and good for Ford. I'm never happy with fourth because I want to win, but I've come away with some big points for the championship and that shows the value of consistency and a reliable car. Jamie (Whincup) closed up the points gap a little bit, but hopefully I can turn things the other way tomorrow with the 'soft' tyres."

-source: jamescourtney.com.au

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Series V8SUPERCARS