AUS: Albert Park preview

In Form: Craig Baird -- Has started the season in style by winning the opening round of the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide last weekend. The 35-year-old won two of the three races en route to victory. Baird...

In Form:

Craig Baird -- Has started the season in style by winning the opening round of the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide last weekend. The 35-year-old won two of the three races en route to victory. Baird also leads the Battery Town GT3 Cup Challenge in New Zealand with one round to go, showing his 'hot' form.

Alex Davison -- Was the driver to beat early at the Clipsal 500 when he claimed pole position and led from start to finish to win the first race. The 2004 series champion has won in a Porsche at Albert Park on numerous occasions.

David Reynolds -- Completed a treble of third placings at the Clipsal 500 to take third for the round. Was right on Baird's and Davison's rear bumper the whole time, showing he has the pace to win this weekend. The 2004 Formula Ford national champion is on track for a big season.

Jim Richards -- Finished fourth at the Clipsal 500 but was right with the leading trio in race three. Has not had as much testing as the other drivers in the new 997-type Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, so will be right on the money at the Grand Prix with the Clipsal 500 under his belt.

Dean Fiore -- Was the best performed rookie at the Clipsal 500 with a fifth place finish overall, after coming from a successful Formula Ford campaign last season when he finished fourth. Is in the developing Sonic Motor Racing squad which contains Reynolds, and the local team will be after a big result at Albert Park.

Jonathon Webb -- Could not quite crack the top five at the Clipsal 500 but certainly improved with every session. Will have the confidence now after setting a Porsche lap record in the final race at Adelaide. Finished third overall in the championship last year to be marked down in the leading bunch this year. If Webb can qualify well, you know he is in for a good result.

The Title Chase:

The Formula 1 Foster's Australian Grand Prix is a Non Championship Round for the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup Australia, thus no points are up for grabs in any award category. With the next points-scoring round at Wakefield Park in late May, here is a list of the award leaders:

Overall Championship: Following his success in round one, Craig Baird has a slender six-point lead over Alex Davison, with another 24 points back to David Reynolds. Jim Richards and Dean Fiore complete the top five, who all have over 100 points. Jonathon Webb, Ian Dyk, Anthony Tratt, Klark Quinn and David Wall make up spots six to 10.

TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge: For the leading privateer driver 30 years of age or older, Dean Grant and Rodney Jane are tied at the top of the standings with Grant holding a lead on a countback. Series newcomer John Kaias is currently in third after a consistent opening round, ahead of Marc Cini, Tony Quinn, Ash Samadi and Paul Freestone.

Wright Patton Shakespeare Michelin Driver to Europe: For the leading driver under 30 years of age who has not previously driven in a Porsche Michelin Supercup or International Carrera Cup round, David Reynolds has shot to a commanding lead over team mate Dean Fiore and Ian Dyk.

Michelin Rookie of the Year: For the leading driver who has not competed in more than six rounds of a Porsche racing series prior to 2006, Dean Fiore holds down top spot with a 30-point margin to David Wall, with Aaron Caratti and David Russell tied for third.

Mobil 1 Hard Charger: For the driver who makes up the most number of grid positions in points-scoring races over the eight rounds, David Russell leads the way on 14 from Aaron Caratti who has made up 12 positions.

What to look out for:

A field of 22 new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 997) cars will race for the first time at the Michelin Carrera Cup in Melbourne. This new model has enhanced aerodynamics - a new front section and a larger rear wing produces 40 percent more downforce than the previous 996 model. The six-speed sequential gearbox makes gear shifting faster and more failsafe, while the ABS brakes are replaced by tandem racing master cylinders and an in-car brake bias adjustment control.

Two new teams will campaign cars in 2006 -- Firepower Racing for Aaron Caratti and ROOCK Racing for Ash Samadi.

Ten of the 22 Michelin Carrera Cup drivers live in Melbourne. Sonic Motor Racing duo David Reynolds and Dean Fiore live the closest to the track in Albert Park, and are only separated by one apartment. Currently in the championship points, they are only separated by one driver.

Jim Richards completed a clean sweep of the Michelin Carrera Cup at the Grand Prix last year, claiming pole position before going on to win all three races.

Alex Davison won two of the four races in Michelin Carrera Cup at the Grand Prix in 2004, on his way to the championship title at season's end.

Eight drivers have contested each season of Carrera Cup in Australia since its introduction in 2003 - Jim Richards, Klark Quinn, Peter Fitzgerald, Rodney Jane, Dean Grant, Marc Cini, Jonathon Webb and Tony Quinn.

Ten of the Porsche drivers at Albert Park are under 30 years of age -- Jonathon Webb, Aaron Caratti, Bryce Washington, Daniel Pappas, David Reynolds, David Russell, David Wall, Dean Fiore, Ian Dyk and Klark Quinn.

There are seven newcomers to the category in 2006 - David Russell, Dean Fiore, Daniel Pappas, Aaron Caratti, David Wall, Anthony Tratt and John Kaias.

Alex Davison, Craig Baird and Anthony Tratt have jumped out of their V8 Supercar seats from last year to get into the left-hand drive seats of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup.

-cupcar.au

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Jim Richards , Rodney Jane , Craig Baird , Alex Davison , Anthony Tratt , Tony Quinn , Klark Quinn , Paul Freestone , Peter Fitzgerald , Ash Samadi , Jonathon Webb , Bryce Washington , Ian Dyk , David Wall , John Kaias , David Reynolds , Marc Cini , Aaron Caratti , Dean Grant , Dean Fiore , David Russell