James Courtney has declared himself sore but unfazed after walking away from a major impact that destroyed his Holden Racing Team Commodore in Race 32 at Phillip Island.
The former V8 Supercars champion was negotiating the Turn 4 hairpin late in the opening leg of the 60/60 Super Sprint when his drivers’ door was hit by Alexandre Premat’s out-of-control Fujitsu GRM Holden.
Premat’s Commodore had a tyre deflate heading through the previous corner, after which point the Frenchman was a passenger.
Sliding across the grass, Premat’s car became momentarily airborne before making side-to-side contact with Courtney’s.
Premat subsequently helped Courtney out of the left-side of the HRT Commodore, which had its right-side intrusion bars broken by the accident.
Both cars have been ruled out for the remainder of the weekend.
Premat’s will head back to GRM’s Melbourne headquarters tonight before being repaired for Homebush, while Courtney’s is not expected to see a race track again.
“I’m a little bit sore but ok… the car is the one that is sorer than I am,” Courtney told SEN of the incident.
“Its a credit to the car. It probably could have been a lot worse 12 months ago (with the previous-generation V8 Supercar).
“Its pretty freaky how it has hit right in the door and not hit anywhere else.
“It hasn’t scared me at all,” he added.
“It is what we do its part of racing. Its a risk we all take and I would be running tomorrow if I had a car.”
Premat was also happy to walk away from the incident with little more than a sore leg.
The former DTM driver was not, however, pleased with the tyre failure; one of several to be seen during the 28 lap race.
“When Scotty (team-mate Scott McLaughlin) had his problems with the tyres the team said be careful with the tyres,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“I was very careful but after the Safety Car everything was good at Turn 1 and Turn 2, but at Turn 3 I couldn’t turn because I had a flat tyre.
“When I turned I went straight and I couldn’t have done any more, I couldn’t stop the car. I was on the brakes. There was a bit of rain today and that didn’t help.
“It’s pretty dangerous from Dunlop as six or seven cars had issues with the tyres.
“Maybe they have to change something about this corner as well as it was a big issue last year. It’s pretty risky over there.”
Premat was also amazed that Courtney could be freed relatively unharmed from his crumpled driver’s compartment.
“When I was trying to pull him from the car he was squeezed in there pretty tight,” he said.
“He was lucky. We are both lucky. I don’t know if the car can be fixed the focus is on the health of James and I.”
A Dunlop spokesman told Speedcafe.com that the tyre supplier is working with V8 Supercars and the teams to assess the tyre issues this evening.
For more with Courtney, those in Melbourne can listen to 1116 SEN’s On the Grid from 0800 on Sunday