Winton V8 Supercars: James Courtney ends victory drought
|Sunday, August 25th 2013, 07:21 GMT|
James Courtney took his first V8 Supercars victory since the start of the 2011 season in the final race of the Winton weekend.
Courtney had led away from pole for Holden Racing Team, pulling a comfortable gap over Dick Johnson Racing's Chaz Mostert as the rookie resisted Will Davison.
The race only came alive in its final third. A clash between race two winner Mark Winterbottom, who had qualified badly, and Rick Kelly left the Nissan stuck in the infield mud, prompting a safety car.
Over half the field took the chance to pit for fresh tyres, leaving the top 11 on older rubber looking vulnerable going into the closing stages.
Another safety car, caused by front-row qualifier Jason Bright crashing out of fourth, then gave the new-tyre runners an even better shot at making progress.
Fabian Coulthard and Garth Tander led that charge. Coulthard grabbed third as Davison recovered from a trip over the grass in the closing laps, and then passed Mostert for second a few corners from the flag.
Courtney was 2.9 seconds clear though and secured his return to the top stop at last.
Mostert hung on to third by just 0.2s as Tander and Shane van Gisbergen exerted huge pressure on the run to the flag.
Davison came home sixth, which was still a boost to his title chances as after poor qualifying results Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup and Winterbottom could only manage 10th, 13th and 17th respectively.
Whincup was at the centre of first-lap drama when startline contact with Todd Kelly sent the Nissan flying across the grass (pictured) and into the infield wall.
That prompted the first of what would be three safety cars in the 34-lap race.
The lap one mess also resulted in Scott Pye parking his Holden in the pitlane on fire due to contact that damaged his exhaust.
Results - 34 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. James Courtney HRT Holden 55m19.8371s 2. Fabian Coulthard Brad Jones Holden +2.9514s 3. Chaz Mostert Dick Johnson Ford +4.5390s 4. Garth Tander HRT Holden +4.7069s 5. Shane van Gisbergen Tekno Holden +4.9677s 6. Will Davison FPR Ford +6.0658s 7. David Reynolds Rod Nash/FPR Ford +6.6011s 8. James Moffat Nissan +7.0447s 9. Tim Blanchard Dick Johnson Ford +8.7054s 10. Craig Lowndes Triple Eight Holden +13.8165s 11. Alexandre Premat GRM Holden +14.1939s 12. Alex Davison Schwerkolt/FPR Ford +14.5638s 13. Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Holden +14.7093s 14. Scott McLaughlin GRM Holden +14.8928s 15. Tim Slade Rosenberg/Erebus Mercedes +15.1191s 16. Dean Fiore Dumbrell Holden +15.5293s 17. Mark Winterbottom FPR Ford +15.7081s 18. David Wall Britek/BJR Holden +15.9286s 19. Maro Engel Erebus Mercedes +16.6262s 20. Lee Holdsworth Erebus Mercedes +19.0520s 21. Tony D'Alberto D'Alberto Holden +24.1596s 22. Jonathon Webb Tekno Holden +42.7864s Retirements: Michael Caruso Nissan 33 laps Jason Bright Brad Jones Holden 25 laps Rick Kelly Nissan 21 laps Todd Kelly Nissan 0 laps Scott Pye Dumbrell Holden 0 laps Russell Ingall Walkinshaw/HRT Holden DNS