TWO PRIZE FIGHTERS GO AT IT IN PORSCHES AT ALBERT PARK Kiwi driver Craig Baird continued his early season ascendancy with three race wins in the Michelin Carrera Cup at the Formula 1 Foster's Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne...
TWO PRIZE FIGHTERS GO AT IT IN PORSCHES AT ALBERT PARK
Kiwi driver Craig Baird continued his early season ascendancy with three race wins in the Michelin Carrera Cup at the Formula 1 Foster's Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne this weekend.
Team VIP Petfoods lead driver Baird won race four today over eight laps in a neck-and-neck struggle with close rival 'Aussie' Alex Davison, with the Kiwi winning the Grand Prix battle three races to one over his Aussie competitor.
Once again little separated Baird and his Glenfords Tool Centres and DeWalt backed rival over all eight laps of the 5.303km circuit.
The 35-year-old ex-V8 Supercar pilot led the race from start to finish while Davison maintained intense pressure over the full journey. In some great theatre, often centimeters were between the Team VIP Petfoods rear bumper and the Paul Cruickshank Racing front bumper with no touching the whole race.
"I was in full defensive mode today," said Baird. "Alex had a little bit more car speed today, and I really had to work to cover his every move.
"He applied pressure the whole race and it's going to be like that the whole season. However for the team and myself, it's the right way to start the season and everyone else has to do the chasing."
Davison was optimistic looking ahead to the next official points-scoring round at Wakefield Park in Goulburn in seven weeks time.
"Bairdo might have taken the honours so far but we'll be back for the next one," said Davison.
"We had a bit more pace than Bairdo today, and the car was really good. It's just that Bairdo didn't leave any gaps although I gave it one good go on the final lap. Maybe next time."
There was an early safety car with Baird's team owner Tony Quinn hitting the wall on the opening lap after an incident with Greg Murphy Racing's Toll-supported Anthony Tratt. Quinn's wall hit caused his Porsche to slide back into the racing line and into the path of Roock Racing's Ash Samadi.
The damage to both Quinn's and Samadi's Porsches forced a premature end to both of their races.
Just prior to the safety car, the youngest driver in the field Ian Dyk pulled a great pass on the elder statesman in the field Jim Richards to move into the top three.
The Juniper Racing 20-year-old held strong for the rest of the race to consolidate a podium finish, even going close to challenging the front duo.
Dyk had to withstand a closing challenge from Richards, which he did, however a touch on Dyks' rear bumper sent the former series champion onto the grass and down a few places.
"I really wanted to taste the champagne today," said Dyk. "I got a good start -- got Webby (Jonathon Webb) early, then I think it was turn 13 or 14 that I passed Jimmy (Richards) on the inside. Then a few corners later, the safety car came out."
In what a few pundits described as the best race in Carrera Cup Australia's three and a bit year history, the battle between Baird and Davison was mammoth, as was the tussle between Dyk, Richards and Dean Fiore, and a third dog-fight between David Russell, Webb and David Wall.
Sonic Motor Racing's talented rookie Fiore had his best finish for the four races hitting the line in fourth spot after starting from rear of grid in race two.
The Boom Logistics and Sherrin Hire sponsored Russell also recorded a personal best Porsche finish of fifth ahead of the OAMPS Insurance Brokers-backed Richards with Paul Cruickshank Racing's Webb in seventh.
An awesome performance was put in by last week's round one podium finisher David Reynolds who rose from 17th on the grid to eighth despite an off-track excursion when trying to climb even higher.
The Bob Jane T-Marts sponsored Reynolds finished ahead of the third PCR Porsche of David Wall with Team VIP Petfoods' Klark Quinn coming in 10th.
With the conclusion of this weekend's Non Championship Round, the Porsche teams will now focus on round two of the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup to be held in Goulburn from May 26 to 28.