Winton: Saturday qualifying report

Kiwi Baird score first career V8 Supercar Series pole position Kiwi Craig Baird has gone from outright battler to the first pole position of his V8 Supercar Championship Series career on a day of elation for the New Zealand team. The low ...

Kiwi Baird score first career V8 Supercar Series pole position

Kiwi Craig Baird has gone from outright battler to the first pole position of his V8 Supercar Championship Series career on a day of elation for the New Zealand team.

The low budget, one-car team of Team Kiwi Racing was in raptures when Baird held out the likes of Mark Skaife and Marcos Ambrose with a flying lap that could not be matched by super-teams that have millions more in backing.

Team Kiwi Racing does not even have a major sponsor.

"There's no way I would have imagined this when I got out of bed this morning," Baird said.

"We have a team of four fulltime guys who worked very hard. The nice part about it is that we are in a position where we can stay out of trouble."

In a refreshing tonic for the championship Baird was joined in the top three by Garth Tander and Steven Johnson. Ambrose, Russell Ingall, Skaife, Craig Lowndes, Jason Bright, Jason Bargwanna and Cameron McConville rounded out the top 10.

But Baird was the hero of the day. He is one of three New Zealanders in the championship along with Greg Murphy and Jason Richards.

Baird is a star in many other international categories but has struggled in recent times in V8 Supercars despite this. But he has not let it get him down.

"I've won and led a lot of races in other categories. Starting at the front of the grid is something that is not going to phase me in the slightest," he said.

"It has been a long road for us at Team Kiwi but I don't see any reason why we can't finish in the top 10 in the championship.

"I just pray to the Gods that I don't stall the car on the grid."

There were some dramas during the cold, wet and wintery day. Conditions were ideal for ducks and not motor racing yet there was no significant carnage.

With several red flags during the qualifying session stewards reviewed the final Top 10, deeming cars that completed laps while the red flags were would not have the times from that lap recorded. Stewards applied that rule to all red flags during qualifying.

This meant that Sirromet Wines Paul Morris and Castrol Perkins' Paul Dumbrell were not included in the Top 10 Shootout. Their fastest laps were deemed to have been completed under a red flag and not recorded.

Morris and Dumbrell were replaced in the shootout by Stone Brothers Racing's Russell Ingall and Garry Rogers Motorsports' Cameron McConville.

In another off-track development Kmart Racing's Greg Murphy will start tomorrow's race despite finishing .05s outside of the qualifying time due to battery problems.

AVESCO Chief Executive Officer Wayne Cattach asked stewards to include Murphy in the field. Cattach has this discretionary power as stated in the AVESCO Operations Manual.

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Steven Johnson , Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Mark Skaife , Craig Baird , Craig Lowndes , Jason Bargwanna , Paul Morris , Jason Richards , Garry Rogers , Paul Dumbrell
Teams Garry Rogers Motorsport