Courtney: 250km race will ‘sort the men from the boys’

James Courtney at the NTI Townsville 500. Picture: Ross Gibb

James Courtney is tipping a brutal race this afternoon in what will be the first of two 88-lap encounters at the NTI Townsville 500.

Courtney continued his strong form of late to seal sixth on the grid for Race 15, the best of the three Tickford Racing drivers – all of whom made the Top 10 Shootout.

With high cockpit temperatures and severe tyre degradation expected, the 2010 champion is bracing for what’s to come.

“It’s going to be a crazy race this afternoon, the amount of tyre debris we have after 200km and we’re going to be [another] quarter-distance again. It’s going to be pretty hectic,” Courtney said post-Shootout.

“It’s going to be physical too, it’s hot, this place there’s not a lot of rest so it’s going to sort the men from the boys this afternoon – let’s just hope I’m one of the men and not the boys.”

The 41-year-old will place a premium on hydration in the lead-up to the 15:45 local time/AEST race start.

“I’m an old boy but I have got a lot of experience so hopefully the mental strength takes over from what the body doesn’t have, maybe,” he said.

Kelly Grove Racing’s Dave Reynolds, who took ninth in the Shootout, admitted he is “really worried about the tyre life” for the race.

Reynolds pushed hard in the Shootout, describing his lap as “pretty gnarly”.

“My last run in qualifying was really wild so we tried to tame it down a bit, but then it was still wild, so we didn’t tame it down enough,” he added.

After a tough couple of rounds at Tailem Bend and Darwin, Reynolds has returned to form this weekend right from Practice 1, which he topped.

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