COURTNEY WINS AGAIN & TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon driver James Courtney is the new leader of this year's V8 Supercar Championship. Courtney overtook previous leader and defending champion Jamie Whincup (Team Vodafone)...
COURTNEY WINS AGAIN & TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon driver James Courtney is the new leader of this year's V8 Supercar Championship.
Courtney overtook previous leader and defending champion Jamie Whincup (Team Vodafone) by winning today's second race in the sixth event of the 2010 series at Winton in Victoria. Whincup finished 24th after being delayed by a mid-race incident which left him in a sand-trap.
Courtney's win was his fourth in succession in this year's series. He also won both races in the previous event at Queensland Raceway near Ipswich on May 1-2, and the first race at Winton yesterday.
The JELD-WEN sponsored driver went into today's race trailing Whincup by three points in the championship. He scored the maximum 150 points today, which boosted his series tally to 1,467. Whincup earned 33 points today and was relegated to second place with a revised total of 1,353.
Whincup had been the sole points leader in the 2010 championship until today, but Courtney will now take a lead of 114 points into the seventh event at Hidden Valley near Darwin from June 18-20.
Courtney started today's race sixth on the grid and eventually won by 5.851-secs from Craig Lowndes (Team Vodafone). Whincup led the opening stint of the race, followed by Courtney who passed Lowndes before the leading trio made their first pit-stops for fuel and 'sprint' tyres.
The race developed into a battle between Courtney and Lowndes. Both made their second and final pit-stops under Safety Car conditions, and Lowndes emerged in front. However, Courtney passed him again and held first position for the final eight laps.
Courtney has now won a total of seven championship races since his debut victory at Queensland Raceway in 2008. His other victories before this year were at Townsville and Sydney in 2009.
Qualifying: 6th (best lap 1-min 22.122-secs)
Race 2 (64 laps): 1st (best lap 1-min 23.573-secs)
Fastest lap of race: Karl Reindler (Fair Dinkum Sheds Commodore) 1-min 23.487-secs
COURTNEY QUOTES: "This is 'mega'. I thought Queensland Raceway was as good as it gets, but now we've gone back-to-back again. It just keeps getting better and better, and leading the championship tops everything off. A couple of weeks ago I was more than 200 points behind Jamie (Whincup) and now I'm more than 100 in front - it shows how quickly things can change. Today's race was a strategy battle between us and the Team Vodafone guys. I felt I had more car speed, but they had track position. I kept passing Craig (Lowndes) and then he kept getting back in front after the pit-stops. My car looked after its tyres better, and that was an advantage. I had to be patient, but once I got to the front for the last time I was able to make a gap. Many people are asking why we are suddenly winning, but we've been building up to this since the middle of last year. Everyone in the team has stepped up, and we've now got the car performance and reliability you need to win these races."