Courtney holds on for Clipsal 500 victory

James Courtney celebrates victory

James Courtney celebrates victory

James Courtney held off Shane van Gisbergen to secure a second consecutive Clipsal 500 victory for the Holden Racing Team.

A complex strategic battle distilled into a three-way fight between Courtney, Van Gisbergen and Garth Tander in the closing stages.

The Kiwi lunged his rival into Turn 9 on several occasions but could not find a clean way through.

“That was epic,” beamed Courtney after taking the flag 0.8s ahead.

“Shane had a younger set of tyres at the end and it took everything to keep him behind. Thank god I held him off.”

Tander added to the HRT’s joy with third while Jamie Whincup escaped last lap contact with Chaz Mostert to secure fourth.

Mostert had been attempting to take the position around the outside when contact tipped the Ford into a spin.

The Falcon collected the outside wall before bouncing back into the path of a hapless James Moffat, eliminating both cars.

Mark Winterbottom snuck through for fifth ahead of Fabian Coulthard, Rick Kelly, Tim Slade, Craig Lowndes, and Todd Kelly.

The strategies had been scrambled by Safety Cars on laps 24 and 33 of 78, triggered by electrical problems for Ash Walsh and a Turn 8 crash for Lee Holdsworth respectively.

The first yellow came after all but Chaz Mostert had completed the first of their two scheduled pitstops to take on the required 140 litres of fuel.

Tander and Winterbottom were among those to stop for a second time under the first yellow, locking them into three-stop strategies.

The second Safety Car saw another group, led by Courtney and Whincup, to pit and commit to three stops, while Van Gisbergen and Coulthard headed those to stay on the conventional two-stop strategy.

The true picture began to emerge when Van Gisbergen pitted with just over 30 laps remaining; the Tekno Holden rejoining behind effective leaders Courtney, Winterbottom and Tander.

The Kiwi made short work of Winterbottom and Tander but, aside from a bump-and-run at Turn 9 that he soon readdressed, could not take the lead from Courtney during the long green flag run to the end.

Early front-runner Scott McLaughlin again endured a difficult day in the Volvo, dropping off the lead lap while the team replaced a battery drained of its power due to an alternator problem.

The 21-year-old eventually finished 18th, ahead only of Will Davison, Nick Percat and Andre Heimgartner, who also lost laps with a range of mechanical issues.

Courtney now leads the standings by 17 points over Coulthard after the opening three races of the season.

Result: V8 Supercars Race 3, Clipsal 500 

1 Holden Racing Team James Courtney  Holden Commodore VF 78 01:56:00.5102
2 Team TEKNO Darrell Lea Shane Van Gisbergen  Holden Commodore VF 78 01:56:01.2704
3 Holden Racing Team Garth Tander  Holden Commodore VF 78 01:56:02.4063
4 Red Bull Racing Australia Jamie Whincup  Holden Commodore VF 78 01:56:13.8083
5 Pepsi Max Crew Mark Winterbottom  Ford Falcon FG/X 78 01:56:14.4070
6 Freightliner Racing Fabian Coulthard  Holden Commodore VF 78 01:56:15.1344
7 Nissan Motorsport Rick Kelly  Nissan Altima 78 01:56:16.9341
8 Supercheap Auto Racing Tim Slade  Holden Commodore VF 78 01:56:21.2625
9 Red Bull Racing Australia Craig Lowndes  Holden Commodore VF 78 01:56:24.9737
10 Nissan Motorsport Todd Kelly  Nissan Altima 78 01:56:29.1278
11 Team BOC Jason Bright  Holden Commodore VF 78 01:56:41.3409
12 DJR Team Penske Marcos Ambrose  Ford Falcon FG/X 78 01:56:41.7779
13 Team GB Galvanizing Dale Wood  Holden Commodore VF 78 01:56:45.7180
14 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso  Nissan Altima 78 01:56:49.3933
15 The Bottle-O Racing Team David Reynolds  Ford Falcon FG 78 01:56:49.7907
16 Wilson Security Racing GRM David Wall  Volvo S60 78 01:56:52.3618
17 Team Cooldrive Tim Blanchard  Holden Commodore VF 78 01:57:03.1070
18 Wilson Security Racing GRM Scott McLaughlin  Volvo S60 74 01:56:12.5069
19 Erebus Motorsport V8 Will Davison  Mercedes E63 AMG 73 01:56:22.7544
20 Repair Management Aust Racing Nick Percat  Holden Commodore VF 70 01:56:49.2909
21 Super Black Racing Andre Heimgartner  Ford Falcon FG 62 01:56:21.0160
DNF Pepsi Max Crew Chaz Mostert  Ford Falcon FG/X 77 01:54:49.6361
DNF Nissan Mororsport James Moffat  Nissan Altima 77 01:54:51.6036
DNF Walkinshaw Racing Lee Holdsworth  Holden Commodore VF 31    48:18.7831
DNF Erebus Motorsport V8 Ashley Walsh  Mercedes E63 AMG 22    31:23.4188

V8 Supercars Championship Points

1 James Courtney 258
2 Fabian Coulthard 241
3 Garth Tander 237
4 Shane Van Gisbergen 222
5 Jamie Whincup 216
6 Craig Lowndes 208
7 Mark Winterbottom 202
8 Rick Kelly 177
9 Jason Bright 161
10 Todd Kelly 143
11 Tim Slade 135
12 Marcos Ambrose 125
13 David Reynolds 120
14 David Wall 114
15 Dale Wood 110
16 Tim Blanchard 102
17 Nick Percat 101
18 Scott McLaughlin  93
19 James Moffat  84
20 Andre Heimgartner  82
21 Lee Holdsworth  81
22 Chaz Mostert  69
23 Michael Caruso  59
24 Will Davison  48
25 Ashley Walsh  42

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