Courtney 10th, Pye Unlucky

Published: 02 March 2019
James Courtney in the setting South Australian sun.
James Courtney in the setting South Australian sun.

Pictured: James Courtney in the setting South Australian sun.

James Courtney has finished 10th for Mobil 1™ MEGA Racing in the first race of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, while Scott Pye was the hard luck story of the day, caught up in someone else’s accident, sustaining too much damage to finish.

That DNF ended the longest current streak of consecutive finishes in the field which was held by Pye at 53 races.

A scorching hot week peaked on Saturday in Adelaide, with the mercury topping 40 degrees Celsius, making it a challenging day for everyone involved.

After a twilight qualifying session on Friday evening, JC set a lap good enough to get him into today’s shootout, while Scott set the 15th quickest time, which was where he started today.

In the shootout, JC didn’t have the luxury of a green set of tyres like most after using them to advance in qualifying, moving up one position to start ninth in the 250km race to kick off the season.

We split strategies on lap 1, with Scott stopping immediately looking for clear air, while JC pressed on in eighth.

JC made his first stop on lap 19, popping out on the road just behind Scott who had settled into a rhythm and was looking after his tyres.

On lap 26, disaster struck for the #2 machine, as Holdsworth hit the fence on exit of turn 7, where they have pulled the wall in tighter for the 2019 event. As Scott came around the corner, he had no where to go, making contact with the #5 car, damaging the front end of the car.

The boys worked feverously to get him back out, but the damage sustained was too great to finish.

JC was able to just clear the accident, and continue on in ninth, but got backed up by cars who had stopped on lap 1.

After the final round of stops, JC popped out in 10th, a position he would maintain for the final 37 laps of the race, which was surprisingly uneventful.

The boys will get straight to work on car 2, ensuring that it is back ready to go for the morning.

In good news, the heat isn’t set to be as bad tomorrow, with 31 degrees forecasted.

We will do it all again in the morning, with qualifying, a top-10 shootout, and another 250km race.

James Courtney

“It was hot out there that’s for sure.

“We just didn’t quite have the car balance today that we wanted. I got held up in the middle stint behind some of the guys who stopped on lap one which hurt us overall, but we just need to find some more pace overnight. It hurt what could have been a strong strategy.

“The stops were good, everyone did a great job in the lane under trying conditions, so we will go again tomorrow.”

Scott Pye

“I came into the corner blind and just had no where to go, he was unsighted until it was too late.

“That tyre barrier there has been a talking point all weekend amongst drivers, and in my opinion it should have been moved for the start of the weekend.

“It’s a disappointing way to end, and for the streak of finishes to end as well. That is a credit to everyone here for the reliability we’ve had.

“We will be back out there tomorrow having a crack.”