James Courtney has survived a crash-strewn final race of the Adelaide Clipsal 500 today to ensure a Holden clean sweep of victories across the weekend.
The HRT driver held off a determined Craig Lowndes to claim victory by just six-tenths of a second, earning the victory on the back of an error-free race while many of his rivals suffered.
Courtney came through the field from 15th on the grid, and was hardly a contender for victory in the opening phase of the race, which saw Jamie Whincup jump pole-sitter Shane van Gisbergen off the line to lead the race.
But an appearance by the Safety Car on Lap 10 threw the race strategy options wide open, with most of the field electing to make a pit stop. The exceptions to this were van Gisbergen and Nissan’s Rick Kelly, who stayed out to run 1-2.
The full-course caution was triggered by Lee Holdsworth hitting the Turn 8 wall after being tagged by James Moffat’s Nissan as they disputed ninth place.
Green-flag racing resumed on Lap 14, but the safety car was back in action just seconds later after Jason Bright’s BOC Holden was tipped into a terrifying roll at the Senna Chicane at the restart.
Bright was the unfortunate victim of a ‘three into one won’t go’ battle for track position at the restart, and found himself tippied into a roll after being clipped by Garth Tander’s Holden.
The former champion was launched into the catch fencing on the left-hand side of the track and landed on his roof, and the contact triggered all sorts of mayhem for the chasing pack behind.
While a shaken Bright was able to walk away from the crash, the damage to his Holden will almost certainly rule him out for the non-championship Australian Grand Prix races in less than a fortnight’s time, unless the Brad Jones Racing team can ready a spare car in time.
Van Gisbergen opted to use the second safety car period to make his first pit stop, but both he and Kelly were predictably hit with drive-through penalties for jumping the earlier restart.
That promoted Whincup back into the lead, and Saturday race-winner held the position until Lap 56 when he was called into the pits for a drive-through penalty after officials ruled he’d made a pit lane violation on his second tyre and fuel stop. That left him out of contention, and he finished a distant 15th after damaging his car battling with Michael Caruso.
Whincup’s misfortunes were to Courtney’s benefit. Having quietly worked his way up the order, the 2010 champion passed Craig Lowndes, and then assumed the lead with Whincup’s visit to the pits.
Courtney and Lowndes battled for the win for the remainder of the race – surviving a third safety car interruption courtesy of a DNF for Scott McLaughlin’s Volvo – while van Gisbergen showed a more mature aggression than he’d demonstrated yesterday to claim the final podium spot.
Fabian Coulthard finished fourth, surviving a late battle with Rick Kelly and Tim Slade, with David Reynolds, David Wall, James Moffat and Dale Wood completing the top ten.
2014 V8 Supercars Clipsal 500 Adelaide – Race 3 Final Classification (76 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||James Courtney||TWR Holden||1:57:52.939|
|2.||Craig Lowndes||Triple Eight Holden||+ 0.666|
|3.||Shane van Gisbergen||Tekno Autosports Holden||+ 4.857|
|4.||Fabian Coulthard||Brad Jones Racing Holden||+ 5.658|
|5.||Rick Kelly||Nissan Motorsport||+ 5.907|
|6.||Tim Slade||TWR Holden||+ 6.795|
|7.||David Reynolds||Ford Performance Racing||+ 7.569|
|8.||David Wall||Dick Johnson Racing Ford||+ 8.854|
|9.||James Moffat||Nissan Motorsport||+ 10.753|
|10.||Dale Wood||Brad Jones Racing Holden||+ 32.705|
|11.||Jack Perkins||Ford Performance Racing||+ 1 lap|
|12.||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Performance Racing||+ 1 lap|
|13.||Garth Tander||TWR Holden||+ 3 laps|
|14.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Motorsport||+ 5 laps|
|15.||Jamie Whincup||Triple Eight Holden||+ 8 laps|
|16.||Lee Holdsworth||Erebus Motorsport AMG||+ 10 laps|
|17.||Russell Ingall||Lucas Dumbrell Holden||+ 16 laps|
|DNF.||Nick Percat||TWR Holden||71 laps|
|DNF.||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo Polestar Racing||65 laps|
|DNF.||Chaz Mostert||Ford Performance Racing||13 laps|
|DNF.||Jason Bright||Brad Jones Racing Holden||13 laps|
|DNF.||Scott Pye||Dick Johnson Racing Ford||13 laps|
|DNF.||Robert Dahlgren||Volvo Polestar Racing||12 laps|
|DNF.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport AMG||9 laps|
|DNF.||Todd Kelly||Nissan Motorsport||2 laps|
Image via Holden Racing Team