V8 Supercars

Courtney battles to Abu Dhabi victory

3 Mins read

Starting the race on minus 23points, following a 50-point penalty for an incident in the first race, reigning champion James Courtney hit back to win an enthralling race and an epic final five-lap thriller with Jason Bright that saw the lead change an incredible six times.

TeamVodafone's Jamie Whincup started from pole position for race two, alongside teammate Craig Lowndes, but a first-lap pile-up involving Tony D’Alberto (Wilson Security Racing), Tim Slade (Lucky Seven Racing) and Garth Tander (Toll HRT) led to the first of two lengthy safety-car periods and an epic battle of fuel and race strategies.

In the first safety-car deployment, Whincup pitted from the lead along with Mark Winterbottom, who had moved into second after overtaking Lowndes at the start. Confusion in the pits, however, saw the Ford Performance Racing driver jump Whincup for the lead, before going wide out of the final corner at the restart handed Whincup back the top-spot.

Just thirteen laps later though a second extensive safety-car period was triggered, when a charging Craig Lowndes smashed into Russell Ingall while attempting a pass on Alex Davison. Reacting to Whincup's late decision to come in to the pits to refuel under the safety-car period, Winterbottom's FPR team called him in, but diving into the pit-lane, Winterbottom crossed the merging line, leading to a costly drive-through penalty.

Following the restart, having gambled on another safety-car appearance, James Courtney and Team BOC’s Jason Bright's decision to refuel during the first safety-car period paid off, with Courtney leading from Fabian Coulthard, and Bright in fifth, but gaining ground fast.

With only nine laps left, Bright had moved up to second passing Coulthard. Five laps from the end, Courtney was still ahead, but had made the switch to full fuel-save mode. With no such issues, Bright closed the gap and lunged for the lead with three laps to go.

But Courtney upped his pace and both drivers were dicing for position, the lead changing three times over three corners, before Courtney snatched top-spot and held on to secure his first win for the factory Holden team, with Bright just six-tenths of a second behind.

Speaking after the race, Bright admitted: “I thought we had James. I had to do a fair bit to catch him, and then when I got in front I didn't have the drive left to keep him at bay.”

Whincup finished in third, putting an end to his unbeaten streak at the Yas Marina circuit. David Reynolds took a career-best fourth for Kelly Racing hazarding a similar fuel strategy to Courtney, with Michael Caruso (Fujitsu Racing) finishing sixth – a top-six Holden clean sweep.

Courtney, who had covered more than half of the race on one tank of fuel, said: “It is an awesome feeling. After all the hype in the off season all I wanted to do was just get in the car and drive. I can't thank the guys in the team enough … we stuck together and our strategy was amazing.”

“I'm surprised we made it to the end. I was conserving so much fuel which allowed Brighty to close in on me but then the boys said I had a bit to play with so I just kept pushing! This is amazing. I'm stoked!”

Pos Car Entrant Driver Vehicle Fastest Lap Fastest Lap Time Race Time Laps Points
1 1 Toll Holden Racing Team James Courtney Commodore VE2 9 01:58:7740 01:43:14:6510 43 150
2 8 Team BOC Jason Bright Commodore VE2 8 01:59:1330 01:43:15:2580 43 138
3 88 TeamVodafone Jamie Whincup Commodore VE2 41 01:58:9940 01:43:19:4780 43 129
4 16 Stratco Racing David Reynolds Commodore VE2 8 01:59:1000 01:43:22:5920 43 120
5 34 Fujitsu Racing GRM Michael Caruso Commodore VE2 9 01:58:8520 01:43:26:9960 43 111
6 19 Mother Energy Racing Team Jonathon Webb Falcon FG 32 01:59:8070 01:43:27:7510 43 102
7 4 Irwin Racing Alex Davison Falcon FG 29 01:59:5660 01:43:28:3070 43 96
8 9 SP Tools Racing Shane van Gisbergen Falcon FG 8 01:58:9810 01:43:28:8500 43 90
9 11 Pepsi Max Crew Greg Murphy Commodore VE2 13 01:59:6590 01:43:32:7270 43 84
10 55 The Bottle-O Racing Team Paul Dumbrell Falcon FG 14 01:58:2900 01:43:34:9310 43 78
11 21 Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing Karl Reindler Commodore VE2 8 01:58:7250 01:43:35:1480 43 72
12 14 Team BOC Jason Bargwanna Commodore VE2 27 01:57:7400 01:43:35:7210 43 69
13 49 VIP Petfoods Steve Owen Commodore VE2 13 01:59:3070 01:43:40:3640 43 66
14 5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon Mark Winterbottom Falcon FG 36 01:59:1100 01:43:42:7610 43 63
15 61 Huzzah Racing Fabian Coulthard Commodore VE2 27 01:59:0700 01:43:57:1390 43 60
16 6 Trading Post FPR Falcon Will Davison Falcon FG 9 01:58:6610 01:44:03:7710 43 57
17 30 Gulf Western Oil Racing Warren Luff Commodore VE2 9 02:00:1260 01:44:10:2680 43 54
18 17 Dick Johnson Racing Steven Johnson Falcon FG 9 01:58:8650 01:44:14:0650 43 51
19 15 Kelly Racing Rick Kelly Commodore VE2 34 01:58:5290 01:43:51:2980 42 48
20 12 Triple F Racing Dean Fiore Falcon FG 8 01:59:4140 01:44:00:4720 42 45
21 888 TeamVodafone Craig Lowndes Commodore VE2 11 01:59:6620 01:45:15:8730 42 42
22 33 Fujitsu Racing GRM Lee Holdsworth Commodore VE2 9 01:59:0730 01:44:04:2300 38 39
DNF 18 Dick Johnson Racing James Moffat Falcon FG 9 02:00:0110 01:09:20:2660 26 0
DNF 39 Supercheap Auto Racing Russell Ingall Commodore VE2 12 01:59:4850 50:58:6110 19 0
DNF 7 Kelly Racing Todd Kelly Commodore VE2 2 04:30:0580 11:47:9070 3 0
DNF 47 Lucky 7 Racing Tim Slade Falcon FG -1 0
DNF 3 Wilson Security Racing Tony D’Alberto Commodore VE2 -1 0
DNF 2 Toll Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Commodore VE2 -1 0
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