LATE-RACE PENALTY ENDS COURTNEY'S CHANCE FOR WIN A pit lane penalty in the closing laps effectively ended V8 Supercar Championship leader James Courtney's bid for victory in today's first race of the Gold Coast 600 endurance event on the Gold ...
LATE-RACE PENALTY ENDS COURTNEY'S CHANCE FOR WIN
A pit lane penalty in the closing laps effectively ended V8 Supercar Championship leader James Courtney's bid for victory in today's first race of the Gold Coast 600 endurance event on the Gold Coast.
The Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon driver Courtney took the lead on lap 80 of the 300km race and appeared on target to win. However, he was penalised after a Safety Car period restart and dropped back to 14th, before recovering to finish 10th.
A Stewards Summary released after the 102-lap race stated: "The Stewards imposed a Pit Lane Penalty on Car #18 James Courtney for failing to maintain the prescribed speed after the Safety car lights were extinguished at the end of the last Safety Car deployment."
Courtney's championship lead was reduced from 125 points to 101 by Jamie Whincup, who finished sixth in today's race in a Team Vodafone Commodore. Whincup scored 102 points on the 2.9km street circuit, while Courtney earned 78.
The results mean Gold Coast-based Courtney will go into tomorrow's second and final 300km race leading the championship with 2,401 points, with Whincup second on 2,300.
Courtney qualified second for today's race. His team-mate Warren Luff drove the opening stint and was fifth at the team's first pit-stop, which included a driver change. Courtney drove the remaining laps, gradually improving and eventually overtaking Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team) for the lead.
Tander, who was partnered by Cameron McConville, regained first place after Courtney's penalty and won the race.
Qualifying: 6th (best lap 1-min 12.281-secs)
Top 10 Shoot Out: 2nd (lap time 1-min 12.788-secs)
Race 1 (102 laps): 10th (best lap 1-min 13.322-secs) Fastest lap of race: Craig Lowndes (Team Vodafone) 1-min 13.187-secs
COURTNEY QUOTES: "I was confused (by the penalty) because I didn't feel I did anything different to what I've been doing all year after Safety Cars. It's frustrating because we had good car-speed and our strategy put us in a position to win. I feel gutted for the boys in my team because they worked hard for this. We got to the front today because we were the best team - there was nothing lucky about it. Hopefully we can fight back and go for the win again tomorrow. Plenty of cars took some big hits today, but our Falcon hasn't got a scratch on it so we should be in good shape for the second race."