CRAIG BAIRD TAKES RACE ONE WIN Carrera Cup championship leader Craig Baird has had a brilliant start to his racing weekend, claiming victory in Race One today at Sandown Raceway. It was the perfect start to Round Five for the Kiwi, who...
CRAIG BAIRD TAKES RACE ONE WIN
Carrera Cup championship leader Craig Baird has had a brilliant start to his racing weekend, claiming victory in Race One today at Sandown Raceway.
It was the perfect start to Round Five for the Kiwi, who led from start to finish after grabbing pole position in this morning's qualifying session.
David Russell (Boom Logistics) kept up his great form from Round Four in Perth to finish second today, while David Wall (Shannons Insurance) rounded out the race podium.
Bryce Washington (ADRAD Radiators) was fourth while James Moffat (Bob Jane T-Marts/Trueline) was fifth.
Rodney Jane (Bob Jane T-Marts), Paul Stokell (Sherrin Rentals), Jono Lester (Blackwoods/JBS Tools) and James and Theo Koundouris (Supabarn Supermarkets) rounded out the top 10.
James' finish handed him the win in the Pilatus Challenge, which is for non-professional drivers over the age of 30, with Theo second and Peter Hill (Boost/Globe) third after his 13th place overall finish.
Dean Fiore (Complispace/Advance Energy) -- who was second in the championship before the round -- finished 17th after a blown tyre early in the race put him a lap down.
While it was a relatively comfortable win by Baird, for those in the chasing pack it was anything but.
For most of the race drivers in positions two through to six were separated by less than a second, with them battling constantly for position.
Aaron Caratti -- who went into the round in third position overall -- and Rodney Forbes (Jaimie Vedda Racing) were the main losers out of the battle.
Early in the race, and with Caratti hot on the heels of Baird, he was tapped by Forbes, who sent him spinning and out of the race.
Forbes was later given a pit lane penalty, which relegated him to 15th overall.
A safety car was called while Caratti was pulled out of the gravel trap and although it allowed the field to close the gap to Baird he increased it immediately after it returned to the pits and he was never headed.
Baird admitted after the race it was a reasonably comfortable victory.
"With all those guys fighting each other pretty hard it let me get a bit of a gap so it was just about maintaining that," he said.
"I had a pretty decent lead and the pace to maintain it so it was just a matter of staying focused; keeping my concentration and making sure I didn't make any mistakes.
"Things are looking promising for the rest of the weekend but it could all change so we can't take tomorrow easy at all."
Wall was thrilled with his result, which comes after a podium finish in the first race in Perth.
"I'm very happy with my car speed and that result," he said.
"The car is set-up just the way I like it so all is in place for two good results in the races tomorrow."
James Koundouris was happy to take the Pilatus Challenge win, but it certainly wasn't easy for him.
"The car was a real handful because it had heaps of understeer and moved around the track quite badly, so I really had to concentrate hard," he said.
"But a top 10 result is always good and it really keeps the pressure on the other guys in the Pilatus Challenge".
Races Two and Three round out the event and will be held on Monday, with Race Three scheduled to be televised nationally on Channel 7 from 3pm.