V8 Supercars: Mayhem and Chaos ruled at Sydney Telstra 500, James Courtney triumphs
Absolute chaos and mayhem led to one of the most amazing races in V8 Supercar Championship history at Sydney’s Olympic Park today. With a V8 Supercar title on the line, it was a case of just add water and wait.
The Sydney Telstra 500 became a crash derby when all three Championship leaders – James Courtney, Mark Winterbottom and Jamie Whincup – fell foul of a torrential downpour which left them skateboarding at 260km per hour.
All three crashed and only two survived – Courtney and Whincup. They both made miraculous recoveries from the massive damage to get back on the track.
Courtney was the only one who actually finished as Whincup failed to cross the line in enough time to be classified a finisher. It means Courtney has a 113-point lead into the final race of 2010 ahead of Whincup. Winterbottom’s result means he is now out of Championship contention.
First-year rookie Jonathon Webb scored his first V8 Supercar win amid the chaos in his Mother Falcon from Trading Posts’ Jason Bright and Jack Daniel’s Rick Kelly.
The team decision for Webb to go to wet tyres was a masterstroke, something the Championship leaders could only regret. “It was really up to me to push on and stay out of trouble,” Webb said. “I wasn’t expecting the rain and the debacle that was to come we got but my engineer made a great decision to put me on wets which was make or break. “I knew straight away into the first chicane that I was the only one out there with any grip. I knew trouble was coming but little did I know at the next corner there were cars in the wall everywhere. “I knew it was my race to lose. I just had to keep it off the walls and stay out of trouble.”
The fact that Courtney was able to get back on track just in time meant the difference between the 113 point lead and a 60 point lead. His team’s efforts to repair the massive damage will probably win him the Championship.
“I can’t thank my guys enough. If this thing ends up swinging the other way and we win it it’s those guys right there who did it,” Courtney said.
“It was good to be together at that point (with Whincup in the wall) and just as good to be in the pits together as well. There are so many twists and turns and how the year has been is unbelievable.
“I didn’t expect it to be like this. It’s an amazing day and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Whincup didn’t rule out another challenge in what will be an incredible end to the Championship.
“We were the clowns at the front that went a bit hard in the rain,” he said.
“I was having an argument with myself whether to pit but with the facts we had, and I’m sure we are all the same, said keep going. We will fight again tomorrow.”
The final day of the Sydney Telstra 500 and the 2010 V8 Supercar Championship Series resumes tomorrow with a short qualifying session in the morning and the final race from 2pm.