Season highlights: Courtney wins Clipsal

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 14/07/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

The end of 2013 was horrific for James Courtney.

Having gone from the highs of re-signing with Holden Racing Team at Queensland Raceway, winning at Winton and well in Championship contention, things went from bad to worse once the Pirtek Enduro Cupstarted, with three accidents in three consecutive races through the Bathurst and Gold Coast rounds.

When it looked like it couldn't get any tougher, he was involved in a sickening accident at Phillip Island, with drivers' side impact to his Holden Racing Team Commodore leaving him with a broken leg and forcing him to sit out of the final event.

Getting back in the car the following year, after rehabilitation over the summer -and a new addition to the factory team with Courtney's old friend Adrian Burgess in to run the show -there a lot was riding on results at gruelling season opener the Clipsal 500.

Sunday was the big one -the 250km race, after Saturday's action had been split into two 125km races with Red Bull rivals Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes taking out the first two.

The race was chaos, with damage throughout the field, a huge rollover from Jason Bright and errors from the previous day's winning team. But ultimately, Courtney brought HRT back to the front, showing he and the team could not be underestimated in 2014.

"Winning Clipsal this year, it was pretty emotional," the #22 driver said.

"I think the leg was the biggest thing for me because it killed me missing out on Homebush and the way the off-season was I couldn't train the way I wanted to and had to do things differently. I was a little bit concerned if I'd be properly ready."

Importantly, Courtney acknowledged that the result ensured him staying with the team was the best decision he could have made when considering his V8 Supercars future.

"The way the team was shuffled around with Adrian coming back and working together - it really cemented it was the right decision re-signing with the team," he said.

"It was a legitimate great race, it was fantastic!"

Cheeky Courtney couldn't help but celebrate hard after crossing the line - it was his first Clipsal 500 win, after all -and just goes to show how much passion and personal investment there is up and down V8 Supercars' pitlane.

"You can safely say I got pretty carried away after the race - I was a little bit excited, doing burnouts and stage diving and all sorts of stuff!

"It was a pretty magical moment and a massive release of a lot of emotion."

On top of his Clipsal 500 win, Courtney has scored two ARMOR ALL Pole Positions this year, in New Zealand and Townsville, with six podium finishes for 2014.

He currently sits fifth in the Championship standings, 280 points down on leader Mark Winterbottom, with nothing but enthusiasm and confidence for what lays ahead, particularly come endurance season where a race win at Sandown or Bathurst is worth 300 points.

Was Courtney's win out the box for Holden Racing Team your favourite 2014 moment so far?

Vote in the v8supercars.com.au poll and tell us why below.

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