Struggling DJR Team Penske driver Scott Pye has received additional pain relief after setting the fastest time in the opening practice session at the Castrol Gold Coast 600.
Pye is attempting to race this weekend on one of the roughest circuits in the V8 Supercars championship despite suffering a fractured right rib in a big crash late in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 less than two weeks ago.
While Steven Johnson is on standby to replace him alongside Marcos Ambrose in the XBOX Ford Falcon FG X if the pain becomes too much, Pye plans to practice again this afternoon.
Meanwhile, Holden Racing Team ace James Courtney has give the thumbs up after what he described as an emotional return to the cockpit of his factory Holden Commodore VF following three months out recovering from five broken ribs and a punctured lung.
"I am going to give this my best shot, I think I should be okay and I am making sure I am doing everything I can," Pye told v8supercars.com.au after visiting series medico Dr Carl Le for additional pain relief.
"Landing off the kerbs seems to be the most uncomfortable thing. I have tried a rib protector but that just restricts my movement too much and I have my back taped up.
"I am on my medication; Dr Carl is looking after me. I am doing everything I can, I am just trying to look after myself and manage it as best I can."
Courtney suffered his injuries when a low-flying Navy helicopter swept debris into his body at the Sydney Motorsport Park championship event in August. He has since missed the Wilson Security Sandown 500 and Bathurst, with Russell Ingall taking his place alongside Jack Perkins at both events.
"it was alright," said Courtney. "I was too busy hanging on to worry about pain or anything else.
"Everyone here (at HRT) is breathing a little sigh of relief because no-one really knew what it would really be like. So it was a little bit unknown going in.
"Once I started doing laps I started thinking about the car and forgetting about this."
Courtney said he had become emotional after the session finished when he was driving back to the pits.
"I said on the radio to the lads 'thanks its been tough not being with you guys' so I got a bit emotional there. Its been crazy-hard standing there watching the other blokes do it.
"I feel I have been built to do this and ... it's a big relief this has all panned out today."
Courtney confirmed he and Perkins had already practised driver swaps and there were no problems.
"It's more the pounding over the kerbs and the car bouncing and stuff that was a concern."
Courtney ended up 13th fastest in the session on hard tyres, but said the times were irrelevant compared to simply getting out and driving.
"It was mega to be out there," he smiled. "I was having a ball. The times are not too flash ... but I would be happy to be two seconds off. It's just great to be back in the car."