BAIRD REIGNS SUPREME AT WET ALBERT PARK It was the time for wet weather specialists to stand up in race two of the Michelin Carrera Cup at the Formula 1 Foster's Australian Grand Prix today, and Gold Coast-based Kiwi Craig Baird proved to be...
BAIRD REIGNS SUPREME AT WET ALBERT PARK
It was the time for wet weather specialists to stand up in race two of the Michelin Carrera Cup at the Formula 1 Foster's Australian Grand Prix today, and Gold Coast-based Kiwi Craig Baird proved to be the master.
The Team VIP Petfoods recruit for 2006 came from the second row on the grid to win the race in atrocious Melbourne conditions.
Although fans enjoyed a fine day for most part of the program, the heavens opened when the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars hit the track for a scheduled eight-lap race.
All 22 cars sported their Michelin control wet weather tyres for the start of the race which saw polesitter Alex Davison win the sprint to the first turn from the big mover in Baird.
Jim Richards squeezed past race one runner-up David Reynolds, as all the drivers searched for the best and driest line around the 5.303km circuit.
Baird, who has a V8 Supercar pole position in wet conditions at Winton two seasons ago to his credit, then made a move on the Glenfords Tool Centres and DeWalt-backed Davison on the opening lap to take the lead.
The second lap saw Davison overtaken by Richards, and then the two New Zealand drivers waged battle for race ascendancy.
In the early stages, the wet conditions caused some but minimal drama as the drivers and particularly their Michelin wets did well to maintain traction.
Ex-V8 Supercar driver Anthony Tratt spun on the first lap, while John Kaias then came unstuck on the third lap and slid into the concrete wall. Paul Freestone and Daniel Pappas were other spinners, while Peter Fitzgerald had to pit with mechanical issues.
As the fight continued up front between Baird and Richards with Davison and Reynolds close behind, Ian Dyk from Juniper Racing and the Glenfords Tool Centres and Makita sponsored Jonathon Webb had a great dice for fifth and sixth.
On lap five, Webb showed tremendous skill in the wet to pass Dyk coming into turn one to climb into the top five.
As the conditions deteriorated and a few other Porsches spun off the track, the officials pulled out the red flag and called the race after five laps.
Baird crossed the line in front by just over a second from Richards with Davison claiming a podium position just ahead of young rival Reynolds. Webb ended up comfortably getting home in fifth from Dyk with David Russell, Rodney Jane, Bryce Washington and David Wall making up the top 10 finishers.
Tomorrow the 22 Porsches will take to the track at the Formula 1 Foster's Australian Grand Prix for the Michelin Carrera Cup with race three over six laps at 4.25pm.