James Courtney beats crashes to win from 15th place start
HOLDEN driver James Courtney produced a brilliant comeback from 15th on the grid to claim race three of the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide yesterday.
The highly-eventful race had drama right to the end, with the second-placed Craig Lowndes clipping the wall on the final lap in his Commodore, before finishing .666 seconds behind Courtney.
"Man, that felt good," Courtney said after getting out of his car and performing a Frank the Tank dance, made famous in the movie Old School.
"We knew we had good car speed, but the race was crazy… We didn't get it gifted, we had to pass a few guys and work pretty hard."
Courtney's team had been at the circuit into the early hours of yesterday morning after his door was ripped off in Saturday's race.
He was docked 25 points for the incident, which also involved Scott Pye and Lee Holdsworth.
Holden driver Shane van Gisbergen was almost five seconds back in third, showing tremendous resolve to fight back from a drive-through penalty in the first quarter of the race for an illegal restart.
Rick Kelly, who also fought back to finish fifth, received the same penalty.
Both incurred their punishments after a monster crash by Jason Bright at a chicane.
Bright flipped his car twice after an earlier restart, causing damage to Ford rookie Chaz Mostert (DNF) and AMG's Holdsworth (16th).
Last season's champion, Jamie Whincup, finished 15th after leading the race.
He copped a controversial drive-through penalty on lap 56, putting him from first to eighth, after a pit-lane car controller was deemed to have illegally touched the front of his car.
Fighting hard to carve back through the field, Whincup went in hot on a pass on Michael Caruso, resulting in steering damage and issues with Caruso's car as well.
Only 10 cars finished on the lead lap, as one by one they dropped away in the race to the finish.
Nick Percat looked strong in the final stint, but hit the wall at turn eight in the closing laps.
He wasn't the first - Will Davison in his Mercedes AMG went in early, a hard hit.
Lowndes was the overall points winner from the weekend, with 282, after finishing second behind teammate Whincup in race one on Saturday.
Race two on that same day saw Lowndes come first and Whincup third, with Scott McLaughlin producing an inspired drive in his Volvo to take out a surprise second spot.
V8s TOP FIVE
- Craig Lowndes (Holden) 282
- Fabian Coulthard (Holden) 230
- Shane van Gisbergen (Holden) 221
- Jamie Whincup (Holden 199
- Rick Kelly (Nissan) 198