BAIRD WINS HIS SECOND RACE OF THE WEEKEND Round Two of Carrera Cup Australia is still up for grabs after Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) won Race Three in Melbourne today. Baird's victory closes the gap to Dean Fiore ...
BAIRD WINS HIS SECOND RACE OF THE WEEKEND
Round Two of Carrera Cup Australia is still up for grabs after Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) won Race Three in Melbourne today.
Baird's victory closes the gap to Dean Fiore (Complispace/Advance Energy) at the top of the round points table to six, and with him starting from pole position in tomorrow's final race he is in the box seat for the round win.
The win wasn't the only thing Baird took today, with him setting a new race lap record. His time of 2:00.2226 bettered Alex Davison's, which was set last year.
Fiore backed up his consistent weekend with another second place in today's race, with David Russell (Boom Logistics) third again.
Bryce Washington (ADRAD) was fourth while Aaron Caratti (Parklands on Bertram) -- who started in 12th -- finished fifth.
Jonathon Webb (DTM Wheels), Barton Mawer (Opes Prime Stockbroking), Rodney Jane (Bob Jane T-Marts), Max Twigg (Truloc) and David Wall (Shannon's Insurance) rounded out the top 10.
Twigg's finish not only equalled his best ever Carrera Cup placing, it also handed him the Pilatus Challenge (which is for non-professional drivers over the age of 30) race win.
James Koundouris (Supabarn Supermarkets) was second after his 13th placed finish and Shaun Juniper (Juniper Developments) third after finishing 14th.
Wall and James Moffat (Bob Jane T-Marts/Trueline) both had exceptional races, finishing nine places higher than where they started, Caratti showed true class moving to fifth after starting 12th.
At one point he moved up three positions on one lap.
Baird began on pole after his victory yesterday and while he got a good start, Fiore managed to sneak past him at turn one.
Fiore overcooked his entry into the corner, allowing Baird to retake the lead.
Russell was close and sniffed an opportunity, but Fiore closed the door before he could fly past.
Baird started to pull away and led comfortably but a spin by Theo Koundouris (Supabarn Supermarkets) along the back straight brought the safety car onto the track. Koundouris was able to rejoin the race but finished 19th and a lap down.
That allowed Fiore and Russell to catch Baird to give them a shot of passing him, but when the safety car left the track after two laps Baird instantly increased his lead and he was never headed.
"I got an average start and saw Dean under me but he looked like he was going into the corner too hot so I let him have the position thinking I'll try an "over-under" move and it worked," Baird said.
"From there I went into tyre conservation mode. I have two fresh tyres for tomorrow's race and the pace of the car has been really good this weekend so I'm confident about tomorrow."
While pushing hard, Fiore knew it was going to be difficult to pass Baird once he got a slight lead.
"To get past Craig you really need him to make a mistake and I didn't have the pace to get close enough to put him under enough pressure," he said.
"Me, Dave and Craig have different parts of the track we are better on, but it wasn't enough to make a real difference today so I was happy with second."
It wasn't a happy race for everyone however, with both of the Greg Murphy Racing cars, Jono Lester (Blackwoods/JBS Tools) and Peter Hill (Boost/Globe), not finishing after spins.
Race Four on Sunday wraps up the round and it will be telecast live on Channel 10 from 11.55am Melbourne time.