Holden Racing Team’s James Courtney has led from ARMOR ALL Pole Position to take Race 27 of the V8 Supercars Championship.
Courtney is the 12th different winner for 2013 and this weekend has jumped into sixth in the Championship, after coming into the Winton 360 in ninth position. It’s his first win with HRT since Abu Dhabi 2011, and he won both races at Winton Raceway in 2010.
Bad luck struck many of the top 10 Championship runners with Red Bull Racing Australia having had a terrible weekend of results. Jamie Whincup now leads Craig Lowndes by just 47 points heading into the PIRTEK Enduro Cup, after not finishing the day's first race and home 13th for the second. Pepsi Max Crew FPR's Will Davison and Mark Winterbottom follow in the points.
Courtney got a great jump off the start, and as he sailed away at the beginning of Race 27, chaos ensued behind.
Todd Kelly speared into the infield after contact and Scott Pye’s ekol Commodore was on fire – literally. While Pye managed to jump out quickly, his Commodore was worse for wear.
The incidents saw the first Pedders STP Safety Car of the race, and Courtney led Mostert and Will Davison at the restart.
On lap 22, contact between Rick Kelly and Winterbottom saw the Jack Daniel’s Racing Nissan Altima run wildly to the in-field – and another broken right rear for the team. The incident will be reviewed post-race by the stewards.
That was the turning point of the race – some chose to pit for a fresh set of tyres, including Coulthard and Tander who flew through the field in the dying laps of the race.
Jason Bright, who had been in fourth, also ran off-track and found himself stuck in the mud, to bring out another Safety Car.
The race went green with just five laps to go and the question was whether those with the new tyres had enough time to continue to climb.
Coulthard made it to second, but was a drag race to the end between Mostert and Tander for the last podium position. Mostert – who is proving himself a strong contender – held on to third, his second podium in consecutive events.
“I didn’t get the best start in the one this morning, but to go from pole to a win is fantastic,” Courtney said getting out of the car.
“Everyone’s done a great job, the monkey’s off our back and HRT’s definitely have to say they’re back. It’s fantastic.”
Some reshuffling and tightening of the top 10 in the Championship will make it even more interesting heading into the PIRTEK Enduro Cup – the next V8 Supercars Championship event, the Wilson Security Sandown 500, also in Victoria.