Courtney's not afraid to push for victory

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 29/05/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Holden Racing Team's James Courtney says he doesn't care who he upsets on or off the track as he pushes for his second V8 Supercars Championship title this season.

The 2010 V8 Supercars champ isn't fazed about having been in the spotlight for much of 2015,after some high profile altercations with competitors at recent rounds.

Courtneycurrently sits fifth in the standings, 142 points off leader Mark Winterbottom, and is desperate to get the HRT back where it belongs - at the front of the field.

Courtney also backed his teammate and 2007 Championship winner Garth Tander - who copped a lashing from Ford foe David Reynolds after hard racing at Winton - and is proud of the duo's tenacity.

"I think it shows that Garth and I are hard-ass," 34-year old Courtney told v8supercars.com.au when asked about the off-track confrontations.

"We don't care who we upset. We're here to win. I think that's why we respect each other so much and that's probably why Winton didn't go down as well as it did.

"But that's us - we don't care, we just want to win, we want to get HRT where it should be and if people are in our way we're going to get by them and do whatever.

"[And] we're not afraid of speaking our minds."

Courtney tangled with Tander in Saturday's second race at the last event, the NP300 Navara Winton SuperSprint, with stablemate Lee Holdsworth also caught up in the incident that ultimately put all three out of the race. All four of the Walkinshaw Racing cars qualified mid-pack, and not only did the team need to focus on repairing three of the cars overnight, the opportunity to learn more about the Commodores' weaknesses disappeared on lap one.

The #22 driver admitted the mood was tense in the garage after that race - but emphasised the hunger in the team and the desire to get back to the top.

"Yeah, obviously Saturday night was pretty frosty and through Sunday still was a bit shaky - but it's going to happen again at some point, someone's going to run into each other," Courtney said.

"At Townsville last year it was role reversal, Garth pushed me off into the wall, so it happens.

"The worst thing could be if we started getting into each other and affected each other. We're both smart enough to work out that we need each other and have to work together if we want to take down the others in the Championship.

"It's far from ideal, but we're both paid to race as hard as we can and go as close to the limits as we can.

"Sometimes we make a mistake like I did - I think if I came in and tried to make excuses it would've been a fairly different story - but I ballsed up, put my hand up and moved on."

Courtney has been in the thick of it this year, after a clash with Will Davison at Tasmania, that resulted in the Erebus driving storming down to the HRT garage to give Courtney a mouthful.

The two were fighting over third position and while there was contact as the #22 tried to get past, the move went unpenalised by the stewards, despite Erebus appealing the decision.

Courtney told an emotional Davison to "go and have a cry" and when the Erebus driver refused to take part in a photo shoot with the Courtneythe following round in Perth, it seemed wounds were still open despite the talk of everyone having moved on.

That followed an intense Sunday race at the season opening Clipsal 500 Adelaide, where kiwi rival Shane van Gisbergen redressed a line-ball move on the #22 unprompted, when fighting for the race lead. While there was plenty of praise for van Gisbergen's maturity in the situation, many - including Courtney himself - felt he may have been overly cautious by giving the position back.

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