Courtney on track for Bathurst V8 return

Holden Racing Team see no reason why James Courtney can’t be back for Bathurst despite scans revealing worse-than-suspected injuries from his freak pit-lane mishap.

Courtney was hit by flying debris in the downdraft of a Navy helicopter at the tour’s last event at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The 2010 series champion was rushed to hospital where he was treated for three broken ribs and an air pocket in his lungs.

Further scans this week revealed Courtney broke five ribs, with another displaced rib causing the 35-year-old serious pain.

A statement on the HRT website said a thoracic surgeon at Westmead Hospital has recommended further pain treatment.

“While the above sounds quite dramatic, the team is fully focused on James recovery and is ensuring he receives the best medical care available,” it read.

“If all goes to plan the current medical advice suggests no reason why James wont be taking his place on the grid at Bathurst.”

The injury has all but crushed Courtney’s title hopes.

He currently sits eighth in the championship, 542 points behind leader Mark Winterbottom, and will not record any points at Sandown.

In Courtney’s absence, V8 Supercars legend Russell Ingall has stepped into his place for the first endurance race of the year at Sandown this weekend.

Ingall is Jack Perkins’ co-driver at Sandown, with Perkins elevated from his planned position as Courtney’s co-driver to be the main man around the Melbourne circuit.

In Friday’s morning session, Perkins was 13th quickest, 0.767 seconds behind Jamie Whincup who was quickest around the 3.1km track.

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