Holden’s two top teams scrapped it out on the streets of Adelaide this afternoon, with James Courtney holding out Jamie Whincup in an enthralling battle in race two at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.
Just 0.63 seconds separated the two Holden heavyweights, with Whincup having a big look on the second last lap at the final corner, but he was unable to pass a dogged Courtney.
Courtney had smashed a tyre bundle and carried damage on the left front of his Holden Racing Team Commodore, but he would not be denied at a track where he’s become a specialist, winning the Sunday race in the last two years.
The 2010 champ was second to his Red Bull competitor in the earlier race on the soft tyre, but made sure he took the chequered flag this time around.
“It was an amazing battle, shows why he’s such a champion,” Courtney said of Whincup.
“I’ve been wheel-to-wheel with him all day which has been fantastic ... it definitely was a fight at the end there. Old mate probably had a bit of a better car than we did we had to work hard to keep him behind us.”
Whincup enjoyed the battle and also praised his competitor’s racing.
“JC deserved that … that was good quality motorsport,” he said.
Drama started before the lights went out, with Nick Percat’s bonnet flying open exiting pit lane and ruling the SP Tools Commodore out of the race.
Mostert got the jump off the start – Courtney also had a flyer – but it wasn’t long before the Safety Car bunched up the field with a big hit for Chris Pither. He glanced the wall at turn eight, but with broken steering was fired hard into the inside fence, doing significant damage to the Super Black Falcon.
A slick pit stop by HRT with no fuel helped Courtney, while Red Bull added gas and struggled with Shane van Gisbergen’s rear tyre in the pit lane.
Courtney’s teammate Garth Tander wasn’t as lucky with no power in pit lane – and when he rejoined was hit by Tim Blanchard, though Tander was out wide trying to avoid the chaos.
That called another Safety Car for debris to be cleared and shortly after the restart, Courtney and Whincup barrelled up Mostert, ready to fight it out for the last 18 laps.
Holden has won every race at the Clipsal 500 since the changeover to car of the future in 2013, with Holden drivers having won 12 of the last 13 Clipsal races since 2010.
Scott McLaughlin tried to round up Mostert for a podium, but ended the day fourth, with van Gisbergen completing the top five.