Courtney and Slade look to erase bad memories in Perth

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 01/05/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Walkinshaw Racing pair Tim Slade and James Courtney are looking to improve their fortunes at this weekend's UBET Perth SuperSprint.

After finishing first and second in Friday practice, the pair is poised to eliminate bad memories - Slade of a poor result in Tasmania, and Courtney of his terrible history at Barbagallo Raceway.

Supercheap Auto Racing driver Slade topped the timesheets today, helping alleviate the pain of an embarrassing error in strategy in the 200km race in Tasmania that saw him marooned in pit lane after a 'splash and dash' of fuel.

"When you do 82 of 84 laps, and DNF because of something like that, it's pretty disappointing," Slade said.

"But we move on, and look to make this weekend a lot more positive."

Slade was shocked to see the fuel warning with four laps to go at Symmons Plains, when having a strong run inside the top 10.

"I ran out of fuel," the Supercheap Auto racer said simply. "I'm sure the boys have got it sorted out and it won't happen again ... it was as much as a surprise to them as it was to me.

"I had to pit with two laps to go, and as I was leaving the pit box the chequered flag went out, and pit lane closed."

As Slade hunts for his maiden V8 Supercars race win, his stablemateHolden Racing Team driver James Courtney, will be looking for his first podium result at Barbagallo Raceway.

He's hoping to improve on his best ever finish here - fourth place in 2009 - this weekend, but he expressed that it wouldn'tbe easy and knows it's as much about his team's smarts as his driving ability this weekend.

"It's going to be a tyre conservation race, you're going to need to be really careful with those tyres," Courtney said.

"Someone might get away early in the race, but we're going to have to exercise some self-control."

Sunday's 200km race will be about strategy and speed, as teams go head to head to maximise their cars across the distance.

"It will be tough to get through Sunday, and if you get carried away you're going to be in a whole world of hurt come late in the race," Courtney explained.

"It's up to the drivers to control. That and for the teams with strategy to really monitor track temperature and that kind of thing, but also what the cars around us are doing."

Behind Courtney - who shared the #22 with Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver Jack Perkins - was Pepsi Max Crew driver Mark Winterbottom in third.

David Reynolds, Nick Percat, Fabian Coulthard, Scott McLaughlin, Lee Holdsworth, Will Davison and Ash Walsh completed the top 10.

The Red Bulls were down the order, with Championship leader Jamie Whincup 14th and Craig Lowndes 16th.

Lowndes, poised on the brink of an historic 100th career victory, echoed Courtney's sentiments about making the right decisions this weekend and expressed how important Sunday - worth 150 points - would be.

"No doubt Sunday will be the critical day out of the two. It's almost like the tortoise and the hare - you want to be the tortoise and you might be ok, if you want to be the hare you'll have to have other options up your sleeve."

Lowndes was happy with his run today, and while his best time in the second session was 0.7sec off Slade's, he was confident the car was right where he wants it for tomorrow.

The V8 Supercars hit the track at 9.15am local time for a 15-minute practice session, before back-to-back qualifying and two 60km races.

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Newsletter