Teammates laugh off contact

  • 25/10/2015
  • By Kassie Gadeke
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

James Courtney's return to V8 Supercars meant a return to banging doors with teammate Garth Tander at the Castrol Gold Coast 600. And despite team boss Adrian Burgess's annoyance, the pair enjoyed the closely fought racing, with Courtney singing his teammate's praise after both mastered top five finishes for the Holden Racing Team.

"There's nothing in it, him and I were laughing about it," Courtney told of his late race dice with Tander.

"We're here to race hard and we didn't take any risks to risk both cars or anything."

Tander has suffered after contact from his teammate earlier this year, but Courtney had nothing but compliments for the fellow former champion after yesterday's dice and car #2's fourth place finish.

"I massively respect Garth, he's probably one of, if not the hardest, bloke on track to pass and the most competitive," Courtney said.

"I think that's what as a team has helped us to get to where we are. We both want to win for the team and we're both driving and racing as hard as we can."

Courtney jumped behind the wheel of his Holden Commodore for the first time in three months after suffering five broken ribs and a punctured lung during a freak helicopter accident at Sydney Motorsport Park.

While there were questions about his fitness, Courtney and Jack Perkins put in a stellar drive, which saw the #22 leap from 13th to fifthin 300km race won by Shane van Gisbergen and Jonathon Webb.

He was thrilled to show he was back and more than capable of netting a result this weekend, and post-race did not believe there would be any issues today.

"Really happy with the way we've been able to tune the car throughout the weekend," he said.

"It's an awesome result for the team - fourth and fifth - after the last three months we've been through.

"To finally be able to drive with Jack was great, for me personally to be able to jump in and show that it hasn't affected me and I'm still the same ruthless, determined critter, is good."

Yesterday's race gave Courtney a huge boost - as did the points shifting HRT to second in the team's championship ahead of Red Bull Racing Australia.

The 2010 champ did not have any doubts about his ability to perform today and described being in the car as "exactly as it was before".

"Super happy with how the body has pulled up," Courtney said post-race.

"I was surprised because I hadn't done any one bit of fitness since it happened, because I haven't been allowed.

"It wasn't like I was there eating fish and chips the whole time - I have to confess, I did eat a lot of ice cream at points - but yes, still eating well. Really happy with how I pulled up."

All the HRT driverwants is an improvement for qualifying and he will be happy.

"Trying to get a bit of qualifying speed out, that's what really got us.

"The car speed on the hards was really, really good. We were able to push really hard and make up a lot of ground and I think it was only Shane that was quicker than us at that stage.

"I'm pumped. I'm pumped for the boys. They've been working really hard - as much as it's been hard on me, not being here involved with the guys. For us to be back united as a team and be strong, I think it's good."

Scott Pye also carried a rib injury into the Castrol Gold Coast 600 and pulled up well. He and Marcos Ambrose managed a top 10 finish, nabbing eighth place in the DJR Team Penske XBOX Falcon.

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