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HomeNewsCourtney opens up on ‘hell lead-in’ to Adelaide

Courtney opens up on ‘hell lead-in’ to Adelaide

THE joy of a podium finish in the opening leg of the VALO Adelaide 500 provided a stark contrast to James Courtney’s traumatic build-up to the event.

After taking the chequered flag third in the gruelling 250km race, Courtney spoke of his six-week-old son, Kobe, last week being rushed to emergency surgery on his digestive system.

The successful operation meant Gold Coast-based Courtney skipped the usual pre-event schedule and only arrived in Adelaide on Thursday.

He’s also set to fly home on Sunday night, missing Monday night’s Supercars Gala dinner to return to wife Tegan and their child.

“It’s been a hell lead-in. Personally, it’s been something I’ve never have to deal with before,” said Courtney after the 250km race.

“It was hard leaving (to come to Adelaide). The good thing about it is that everything changed so quickly.

“When the surgeon said we’d see results within 24 hours and that within 48 hours you won’t even see the incision where they went in, I thought he was talking a bit of crap.

“But because they are so small and growing, (he) just recovered so quickly. He started putting on a good amount of weight and we’re out of hospital.

“Leaving was easier for me than for Tegan. She’s at home still and going to get the checks at hospital and stuff.

“If it was this week it would have been incredibly tough. If it happened while I was away, I would have been here and then straight away home.

“It was fortunate that it happened when it did. I don’t want to think about if it happened the other way around, but lucky it happened that way.”

The Snow River Caravans Mustang. Pic: Supplied

Courtney started today’s race from fourth position but fell back when double-stacking behind teammate Cam Waters at a Safety Car-induced round of pitstops.

Quick-thinking from engineer Sam Scaffidi though meant Courtney joined Nick Percat in returning to pitlane on the next lap, completing the car’s fuel drop requirement.

That left the duo to battle it out for second place across the final stint; Percat sneaking ahead due to a Courtney mistake shortly after the pit stops and holding the place thereafter.

“I don’t think I have ever been in a race where the conditions were so sketchy, like half a tyre width offline and you’re in the wall, so it was pretty entertaining,” said Courtney.

“You know it’s a bad one when van Giz (Shane van Gisbergen) is firing off a few times, that shows how sketchy it was. Thankfully I kept it on for most of the part.”

Third place for Courtney was the highpoint in a frustrating day for Tickford Racing, as star driver Cam Waters came home 13th after a costly drive-through penalty.

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