COURTNEY INCREASES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD DESPITE PENALTY Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon driver James Courtney overcame a pit-lane penalty in Tasmania today to extend his lead in this year's V8 Supercar Championship to 50 points. Courtney was...
COURTNEY INCREASES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD DESPITE PENALTY
Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon driver James Courtney overcame a pit-lane penalty in Tasmania today to extend his lead in this year's V8 Supercar Championship to 50 points.
Courtney was penalised after contact with the Fujitsu Holden Commodore driven by Lee Holdsworth in today's second race of the 12th championship round at Symmons Plains Raceway near Launceston. A post-race Stewards Summary stated Courtney's penalty was imposed for a 'driving infringement'.
The JELD-WEN sponsored driver finished 12th in today's 84-lap race, but still managed to increase his championship lead by a further nine points over main title rival Jamie Whincup, who was 15th.
Whincup dropped from fifth to 15th in the closing stages of today's race after an unscheduled pit-stop to refuel his team Vodafone Commodore.
Earlier today, Courtney struggled in qualifying on a wet track and finished 21st. However, in the race he charged into the top 10 in his opening stint on a drying track. The 30-year-old was relegated to 22nd after serving his penalty, but then improved his position for the remainder of the race.
Craig Lowndes, Whincup's team-mate and winner of yesterday's first race at Symmons Plains, failed to finish today after gearbox problems. Mark Winterbottom won today's race in a Ford Performance Racing Falcon and is now third in the championship.
Courtney scored 69 points for his result today and goes into the 13th and penultimate round at Sandown in Melbourne from November 19-21 leading the championship with 2,662 points. He is followed by Whincup on 2,612, Winterbottom on 2,462, and Lowndes on 2,405.
Qualifying - Race 2: 21st (best lap 1-min 00.496-secs)
Race 2 Result (84 laps): 12th (best lap 52.240-secs)
Fastest lap of race: Alex Davison (Irwin Ford Falcon) 51.966-secs
COURTNEY QUOTES: "My car was good enough for a podium today, but the penalty killed it. I had problems qualifying in the wet, but my team made some changes to the car for the race and it was much better. I didn't mean to hit Lee (Holdsworth). You have to commit early in that corner, which I did, but he blocked in front of me. I tried my best to pull the car up, but I couldn't. If he hadn't blocked maybe I could have snuck through. After the penalty I was on a different strategy to most of the others - I needed another Safety Car, but it didn't happen. It was a crazy day. Plenty went wrong, especially in qualifying and the penalty, but Jamie (Whincup) and Craig (Lowndes) had problems as well and somehow I've come out the other side leading the championship by more points than before. My car took a few hits, but we will get it fixed up and hopefully come out firing at Sandown next week."