Burgess ‘not pulling hair out’ over HRT form
Holden Racing Team boss Adrian Burgess is confident that his squad can win tomorrow’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, despite its pace deficit to the front-runners.
The Clayton operation has struggled to threaten the top of the timesheets in practice and qualifying across the opening three days of the event.
Garth Tander crept into the Top 10 Shootout after finishing ninth in qualifying, 0.5s adrift of provisional pole-sitter Jamie Whincup (Red Bull), while Courtney was almost a second shy and will start Sunday’s 161 lap classic from 16th position.
Coming off a win at last month’s Sandown 500 courtesy of Tander and co-driver Warren Luff, Burgess is confident his drivers will take the fight to front-runners Triple Eight and Prodrive in The Great Race.
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“James’ car was very good and well balanced on the used tyre, but we have suffered with this (new tyre gain) quite a lot this year,” Burgess told Speedcafe.com.
“We can’t get that extra grip level that you should expect.
“We did a better job with Garth (in qualifying) and it was good to get him in the top 10 and we can still improve that car a little bit, so we will try that for the Shootout.
“There is no point being unrealistic. I don’t think we have got a pole car but we don’t need a pole car to win the race.
“I’m looking forward to the race as the cars are always good in that element.
“Sunday is a long race and we are certainly not pulling our hair out.
“We will have a competitive car and hopefully we will do a good job with the strategy.
“We beat them (Triple Eight) in the last race. We didn’t fluke anything so of course we can beat Triple Eight.
“It is always easier to start from the front but it is not the be all or end all here. I won’t lose any sleep over it.”
Courtney, one of several star names who failed to make the Top 10 Shootout, also remains upbeat despite being frustrated by recurring issues on new tyres.
The newly re-signed HRT star is searching for his maiden Bathurst 1000 triumph.
“We are just suffering from a bit too much push,” Courtney told Speedcafe.com.
“We are losing out on the longer straights. It is a bit frustrating but we have just got to keep plugging away.
“It is a 1000km race so there is a long way to go and anything can happen in the race.
“We are good on old tyres but when we put the new tyres on we can’t get the most out of them so that is the frustrating thing.
“We are both struggling with the same thing and we are still a long way from the Triple Eight boys so we have got to knuckle down.”
Courtney and co-driver Jack Perkins ended this morning’s final practice in 14th, while Tander and Luff were ninth.