Russell Ingall will step in for James Courtney for Sandown 500
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Russell Ingall will come out of V8 Supercars retirement to replace the injured James Courtney in next month’s Sandown 500.
Holden Racing Team have announced Ingall, 51, will drive alongside Jack Perkins in the opening endurance race of the year while Courtney recovers from broken ribs and lung damage he suffered in a freak pit-lane accident last weekend.
Perkins, Courtney’s co-driver, is taking over as No.1 driver for the team’s No.22 Commodore for the September 13 race.
“When the call came to help out a mate I didn’t hesitate,” said 2005 V8 Supercars champion Ingall, who retired at the end of last year.
“Jack’s also a mate and while he’s disappointed not to be driving with James as planned, we’ve driven together in the past and he understands the need for an experienced replacement.
“I know the guys on the team, they know me well, so at least there’s some hope of getting a result.”
The call-up means Ingall, the most experienced driver in V8 Supercars history, is set to extend his record to 248 race starts.
The race will also continue the Ingall-Perkins family partnership.Back in 1995 Ingall partnered Perkins’ father, Holden legend Larry Perkins, in their famous last-to-first Bathurst win.
The victory earned Ingall a full-time V8 drive with Perkins’ team the following year, with the pair taking another victory at Mt Panorama in 1997.Ingall also teamed with Jack Perkins for the 2011 enduro season, finishing eighth at Bathurst.
Whether the veteran also replaces Courtney for the showpiece Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama on October 11 will depend on how quickly the 35-year-old recovers.
Courtney, who is recuperating at home on the Gold Coast, advised Ingall to live up to his nickname, The Enforcer.
“We’re racers, and that’s exactly what Russell is,” he told Fox Sports News.
“He’s a junkyard dog. You’d cut off both of his arms and he’d be driving with his teeth.
“That’s the sort of spirit that I race with and that’s a big part of why big muscle’s in there.”
Courtney said he’s yet to receive an apology from organisers of the helicopter fly-over at Sydney Motorsport Park that caused a piece of pit equipment to be blown into Courtney’s ribs.
The incident is being investigated by V8 Supercars and the Royal Australian Navy.
“There’s negligence there,” Courtney said.“At the moment my manager just said ‘I’m taking care of everything, you just take care of getting yourself ready’.”