CRAIG BAIRD ON TRACK FOR ROUND WIN Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) was denied victory in Race One but he stormed to victory in Race Two of Carrera Cup at Clipsal 500 Adelaide this afternoon. After he was relegated to second place in...
CRAIG BAIRD ON TRACK FOR ROUND WIN
Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) was denied victory in Race One but he stormed to victory in Race Two of Carrera Cup at Clipsal 500 Adelaide this afternoon.
After he was relegated to second place in Race One because he passed Dean Fiore (Complispace/Advance Energy) under yellow flags, Baird raced to victory in Carrera Cup Australia's second race of the day.
And it was the start which did it for Baird. After beginning from second spot he beat pole sitter Fiore to the first corner and was never headed.
It wasn't an easy victory for the Gold Coast based Kiwi, who was pushed all the way by David Russell (Boom Logistics) who finished in second, with Fiore third.
David Wall (Shannon's Insurance) was fourth, while Carrera Cup rookie James Moffat (Bob Jane T-Marts) rounded out the top five.
Bryce Washington (ADRAD Radiators) had a brilliant race to move up seven positions to finish sixth, while Barton Mawer (Opes Prime Stockbroking), Rodney Jane (Bob Jane T-Marts), Aaron Caratti (Parklands on Bertram and Peter Hill (Boost/Globe) rounded out the top 10.
That finish gave Hill the Pilatus Challenge win for the race. Max Twigg (Truloc) grabbed second with his 11th placed overall finish while Shaun Juniper (Juniper Developments) was third in the Championship-within-a-Championship for non-professional drivers over the age of 30.
Baird said he felt the pressure with Russell behind him, but knew he had the pace.
"The car was good and I felt I had the pace if I needed to push harder," he said.
"Dave Russell is one of the guys who I think has been a bit of a dark horse in the lead up to the season. He's a good racer, he has plenty of pace and will definitely be pushing for race wins."
Russell believes that could come as soon as tomorrow.
"I know where Baird is quicker around the circuit than me but I also know where I am quicker than him now so if I can bridge those gaps it will make a difference," he said.
"I've had two reasonable races under my belt and top three in both so that's a good start but hopefully tomorrow I can go one better."
Race Two was action packed right from the start, with yellow flags out at the first corner after James Koundouris (Supabarn Supermarkets), Rodney Forbes (Jaimie Vedda Racing) and Jono Lester (Blackwoods/JBS Tools) finished in the sand after a coming together at turn one.
They were out of the race and the safety car was called, which lasted for one lap.
On resumption Baird built a lead quickly, but Russell and Fiore were never far away.
While those three battled for podiums places, Wall, Moffat and Caratti fought hard for fourth, fifth and sixth until Caratti was hit with a drive through penalty for starting out of his box.
It relegated him to 15th, but he showed excellent pace as he moved up six positions over the rest of the race.
The pressure didn't ease up on Wall and Moffat however, with Washington joining the battle - which lasted the entire race.
Further back saw Juniper (Juniper Developments), Twigg (Truloc), Andrew Moffat (V8 Super Loans) and Grant Sherrin (Sherrin Rentals) jostling for positions 10 to 14 with the order changing numerous times.
With only 12 points separating Baird, Russell and Fiore the round is anyone's heading into the final race on Sunday.
It wasn't a great afternoon for Theo Koundouris (Supabarn Supermarkets), who missed out on Race Two after a crash in Race One damaged his radiator, suspension and front wheel.
Earlier in the day Fiore claimed the first race win of the 2008 Carrera Cup Australia season after a dramatic Race One.
Fiore looked set for second spot after he was passed by Baird on the second last corner of the race, however a steward's inquiry held after the race deemed he was passed under yellow flag conditions and he was elevated into the winner's position.
Baird was penalised one second, putting him back to second spot.
It was a deserved win for Fiore who led the 10 lap race for nine and three quarter laps until he was passed by Baird.
Russell was third, Caratti fourth and Wall fifth.
The final race of the weekend will be held on Sunday and telecast on Channel 7 from 1.40 pm (AEST).