Just Off the Podium on Saturday

Published: 25 May 2019
JC leads the field on the opening lap.
JC leads the field on the opening lap.

Pictured: JC leads the field on the opening lap.

James Courtney has come oh-so-close to a podium finish in race 13 of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at Winton Raceway, finishing fourth, while Scott Pye made it both Mobil 1™ MEGA Racing cars inside the top-10, finishing 10th.

Courtney pushed David Reynolds all the way to the line, but couldn’t sneak past, while Scott battled heavy traffic in the final stint, fighting well.

As a whole, it was a much better day for the team in challenging and ever-changing conditions.

The day started with Jack Perkins and Warren Luff behind the wheel for a rain affected co-driver session. Luffy was third, while Jack was fifth.

A 40-minute practice session for the main drivers then followed, with the top-10 advancing through to part 2 of qualifying. With good pace again, JC finished fourth, and Scott seventh, meaning they would sit out stage one of qualifying.

Part two was a wet affair, but once again, the car balance was good, with Scott setting the fourth fastest time, and JC the seventh, meaning they were both through to the final 10.

The track dried up, but the car speed was still in the mix, with JC qualifying fourth, and Scott seventh. We were in the fight.

It was a crazy race. JC jumped into the lead on lap one, only to be tagged by Reynolds and relegated to fourth. Reynolds was given a five-second penalty for his role in the incident.

The call was made for Scott to stop a little earlier than planned in response to the strategy of the cars around him, but unfortunately his day was spent caught behind Winterbottom, unable to get past and chase down the others.

JC went long into the race before stopping, and closed in on Reynolds again with 12 to go, but couldn’t find a way past and onto the podium.

It was a better day all round with positives in all sessions. Tomorrow, we go again for 200kms.

James Courtney

“It was a really productive day, the car improved in every session, and rolled out of the truck really well.

“Terry, Carl and everyone did a fantastic job today. It would have been nice to get a trophy, but today was a really positive day. It was nice to be in the fight.

“I’m looking forward to having a look through everything tonight, and then going again tomorrow.”

Scott Pye

“There were certainly improvements today which was good to see.

“In hindsight, I believe we made a mistake with strategy, and ended up pitting in no-man’s land, where we should have gone long or short and raced from there.

“We will regroup overnight and continue to move forward tomorrow.”