‘Colourful words’ after former team-mates clash
James Courtney says that Garth Tander had some ‘colourful words’ for him as the former team-mates disagreed with who was at fault when the latter spun during Race 14.
The two former Supercars champions clashed on several occasions during their time together at the then-Holden Racing Team before Tander returned to Garry Rogers Motorsport last year.
In this year’s final leg of the Winton SuperSprint, they had been running 13th and 14th on Lap 49 when contact ensued at Turn 8 which caused the #33 Wilson Security Commodore to pirouette into the infield.
Courtney pressed on, inheriting Tander’s position, but was issued a 15-second time penalty for a driving infringement within minutes of the incident.
The #25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing Commodore took the chequered flag in 14th but that became 19th once the time had been added.
Tander fell back to 23rd and recovered only one position by the finish.
Despite the official finding of “careless driving”, Courtney maintained that he was not to blame for the spin.
The 37-year-old claimed that Tander had not left room and had in fact exacerbated the situation himself.
“I got a bit of build-up on the soft tyres and was pushed wide at (Turn) 7,” said Courtney.
“He was on the inside and on the exit he just squeezed me onto the dirt.
“I was on the dirt going around into (Turn) 8 and when you’ve got two wheels in the dirt it doesn’t turn well.
“I understeered, touched him, he started to spin, I tried straightening him out to help him out, he kept his foot in it and spun himself around.
“It’s disappointing, we’re all pushing on, working hard.
“He was a little bit upset afterwards and came and had a few colourful words to me. Once he calms down and has a look at the replay, he’ll understand.”
Courtney was at fault for one of the most infamous intra-team incidents at Winton three years ago when he outbraked himself at the first corner of the race and took out both Tander and the customer Walkinshaw car of Lee Holdsworth.
According to the current Walkinshaw Andretti United driver, Tander referenced that calamity when the two exchanged words post-race.
“There were a few colourful things; he brought up our old accident here like he likes to do,” said Courtney.
“Emotions are high, we’re all pressing on and it’s going to happen.”
Tander had a different view of today’s clash.
“I didn’t see it that way, Race Control didn’t see it that way,” he responded when Courtney’s version of events was put to him.
“(I) Think it set the all-time record for how quickly they handed out a 15-second penalty, so he might be in the minority there.
“Usually like James, he never does anything wrong.”
The three-time Bathurst 1000 winner was similarly pointed in his recount of the incident.
“I think he must have got bored and just buried it,” speculated Tander.
“Frustrating; he was making a lot of mistakes and he made a mistake, I got around the outside of him and then he nailed me.
“So that’s it; ‘round we went.
“I’m used to it, he’s done it plenty of times. Anyway, move on to Darwin (next event).”
Courtney himself was on the rough end of two other incidents which were investigated by stewards during the race, though in both cases they determined that “the evidence did not establish any breach of the rules.”
The first came when Anton De Pasquale bumped Courtney off the road at Turn 8 on Lap 5.
A lap later, Jack Le Brocq made contact which caused Car #25 to run wide and leap off the tyre wall on the exit of Turn 2.
Courtney is ninth in the championship and Tander 14th ahead of the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown on June 15-17.