Courtney: Sunday result matched Saturday promise

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 08/05/2018
  • By Mitchell Adam

James Courtney believes his Sunday Perth SuperSprint result of fourth is roughly where he would have finished 24 hours earlier, if not for an incident entering pitlane.

The Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing driver narrowly missed out on a podium in the second race at Barbagallo, losing third place to Craig Lowndes at Turn 6 on the penultimate lap.

Having come from ninth on the grid, the result marked Courtney’s sixth top-six finish from 12 races this season.

Courtney finished 13th on Saturday, after starting 21st and spinning due to contact from Garth Tander entering pitlane on lap 10 of the 50, on a relatively rare two-stop strategy.

“We should’ve really been about where we were [in Sunday’s race on Saturday], if we didn’t get turned around at pit entry,” Courtney told Supercars.com.

“We lost about 10 seconds with all of that, which would’ve put us pretty much where we were [on Sunday].

“It’s probably where we’re at this weekend, to be honest, around that fourth, fifth sort of mark.

“It’s good to come away with the result rather than [Saturday’s] ‘it would’ve been this but it wasn’t’.”

Courtney and team-mate Scott Pye finished at the foot of the order in Sunday morning’s Practice 4, which meant they had to contest the first phase of ARMOR ALL Qualifying.

The 2010 champion made it through to the final phase, but Saturday’s two-stop strategy came back to hurt the team’s Sunday tyre bank somewhat.

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Lowndes ultimately had fresher rubber on the run home and reeled Courtney in.

“We didn’t have any good tyres to run in the last practice, so we sort of knew we weren’t 25th and 26th,” he said.

“In quali we ran two sets in the first one just to make sure we got in and then in the second part we had a green set and we didn’t have any left for the last one.

“It was good to get all of the way through, still get ninth and then the race come through to the front was good.

“Because we ran that extra set [on Saturday], it sort of nobbled us a little bit. We had to re-use tyres in the allocation, mix it in.

“If the race was two laps shorter, it would’ve been nice.

“The performance was a lot better, qualifying was good and in the race the boys did a cracking job with the strategy and then I kept it on the track.

“It was nice. Passed plenty of cars and had good speed.”

Pye advanced from Q1 but not Q2, lining up 15th, and was then spat out of the pack in a fracas at Turn 5 on the opening lap.

Falling to last, Pye ultimately made it back to where he started.

“Obviously the race didn’t really start how we had planned, doing a 360 over the hill wasn’t in the script, so that put us on the backfoot from the start,” he said.

“We were able to pick up a few but it was a long way back. Our balance just wasn’t quite as good as [Saturday].”

Pye and Courtney will head to Winton sixth and seventh in the points, with the Holden squad third in the teams’ standings.

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