Courtney's ominous victory
- By V8 Supercars
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Factory Holden Racing Team driver James Courtney's brilliant win in Race 25 of the V8 Supercars Championship at the Coates Hire Ipswich 400 yesterday could signal a title run just like in 2010, when he ended up beating Jamie Whincup in a dramatic and controversial shootout at Sydney Olympic Park.
That's the view of his Walkinshaw Racing boss Adrian Burgess, who was with Courtney at Dick Johnson Racing back then and managed his successful attack on the 2010 title.
It was the only time in the last six years Whincup and Red Bull Racing haven't won the drivers' championship.
"I don't think people thought we were going to go on a run in 2010 and that started here as well," he told v8supercars.com.au.
"I hope so (2010 repeats), it was a good end result."
Burgess spent the next three years managing the Red Bull team until controversially defecting to the managing director's job at WR and rejoining his friend Courtney for 2014.
"Of course James can win the Championship," he insisted. "The good thing for us is no-one expects us to. So we are just going to keep chugging away on the path we have set out for ourselves and we will just try and win races.
"And if we are in the mix after the enduros, then yes James will give it a big crack."
Courtney runs fourth in the Championship after the Queensland Raceway Super Sprint and his second double points Sunday race win of the year after Race 3 at the Clipsal 500.
He is sitting 192 points adrift of Whincup, who took over the championship lead from Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom at QR after the Falcon driver shredded a tyre yesterday and finished only 22nd.
Winterbottom is 15 points behind Whincup, while Craig Lowndes trails his team-mate by 162 points in third place and is 30 ahead of Courtney.
Intriguingly, Whincup rates Winterbottom as his primary championship threat, with Lowndes also in the mix. Although he "respects" HRT he refused to entertain any thought of a 2010 replay.
"I won't lose any sleep over that," he said. "Congratulations to them, they did a great job today, better than we did and they'll be strong all year.
"But we are focussing on our job, that's what we have got to do."
Courtney, however, made it clear he regards himself as being in with a title shot as HRT gathers form and consistency as the season goes on.
No doubt, showing a clean pair of heels to fellow Holden factory team Red Bull on its test track pleased him, Burgess and the team.
"I always do (think of the championship)," said Courtney.
"I think for sure as a team we are just getting stronger and stronger.
"We are coming off the team one-two last round, before that in Darwin we were really quite strong. It is becoming easier for us to qualify at the front and race at the front. In years gone by we were wobbling around in the mid-field and weren't achieving anything."
However, Courtney made it clear that there was still a lot of racing to be done and points allocated, with the three-round dual driver Pirtek Enduro Cup set to kick off with the Wilson Security Sandown 400 in September.
"There is a long way to go in the championship, we still have three rounds with 900 points up for grabs with some other boneheads jumping in the car and that can happen ... and we saw that last year."