Courtney and Pye laugh off 'wrestle'

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 04/03/2018
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Walkinshaw Andretti United leaves the Adelaide 500 leading the teams’ championship after its drivers survived a wild moment in Race 2.

The Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Holdens made door-to-door contact at Turn 4 on lap 40 after Scott Pye rejoined from his second stop narrowly ahead of James Courtney.

With Pye defending to the inside into the right-hander, Courtney went around the outside and found himself squeezed against the tyre barrier on the exit.

Courtney was able to take the place at the following left-hander and went on to finish sixth, two places ahead of Pye.

“There was some contact between me and James between Turns 4, 5 and 6,” Pye recounted.

“I never thought we were going to take each other out, I feel like we just gave each other enough room. That's what it's about.

“There was a point a little bit later in the race when JC and I went side-by-side through 11 and 12, and I just thought it was pretty cool.

“When we came in, we jumped out of the car and laughed about it. We thought it was pretty cool. I think everyone here [in the garage] was holding their breath.”

Courtney described the moment as “pretty exciting”, but said he had no issue with how it unfolded.

“He's there to race as hard as me,” he said.

“We didn't do anything crazy, but we wrestled a little. It was all pretty clean.”

Sixth was a strong recovery from Courtney after starting 14th, his qualifying hampered by the team inadvertedly re-using a wheel that had been buckled in a brush with the Turn 8 wall on Friday.

The 2010 champion leaves Adelaide third in points behind Shane van Gisbergen and David Reynolds, having qualified third and finished second on Saturday.

Pye struggled in both qualifying sessions, with 13th on Saturday and 15th on Sunday, but moved forwards in both races, finishing 10th and eighth to be 10th in the standings.

The South Australian said he’d been told to push hard by engineer Rob Starr before the spirited Courtney battle unfolded.

“Starry told me when I went back out to have a dip, so we had to get out and go as hard as we possibly could,” he said.

“And Turn 4 is always tough; you come out of pitlane on cold tyres and you have someone on hot tyres, it's always hard to hold them off.

“But, yeah, I thought JC and I rubbed doors but it was fair. It was good racing.”

Courtney and Pye’s combined results from the weekend netted 408 points, six clear of the Red Bull Holden Racing Team.

Tickford’s combined Bottle-O/Supercheap Auto squad sits third on 393 ahead of Erebus Motorsport (360) and defending champion Shell V-Power Racing (306).

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