NZ Porsche GT3: Round one preview

DAVISON FLIES IN TO ADD AUSSIE EDGE TO BATTERY TOWN PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE BATTLE The battle for this year's WPS Carrera Cup Australia title crosses the Tasman this weekend with 2004 champion Alex Davison joining 2006 series points leader...

DAVISON FLIES IN TO ADD AUSSIE EDGE TO BATTERY TOWN PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE BATTLE

The battle for this year's WPS Carrera Cup Australia title crosses the Tasman this weekend with 2004 champion Alex Davison joining 2006 series points leader Craig Baird on the grid for the first round of the 2006/07 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge championship.

Defending Battery Town series champion Baird was always returning for this season's challenge championship but Davison - a dominant winner of the Carrera Cup Australia series for Porsche GT3 Cup cars in 2004 and currently running a close second to Baird in the WPS-backed 2006 championship series - is a late addition to the programme after being called in to replace last minute scratching Shane McKillen.

Davison's entry adds yet another strong driver string to the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge championship series' bow - with the current leader of the Australian series (Baird), and the two most recent champions, Fabian Coulthard (2005) and Davison (2004) joining current Team A1GP World Cup of Motorsport driver Matt Halliday on the grid.

That is not only one of the strongest internationally-recognised driver lineups the Battery Town series has ever enjoyed, it is also one of the most impressive contemporary lineups ever assembled for a national motor racing meeting in this country - period.

It will be interesting to see who comes out on top too, with Baird having dominated the early rounds of this year's WPS Carrera Cup Australia series but Davison having turned the tables on his New Zealand rival at the most recent rounds.

Baird, who has won the last two Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series in this country retains the lead in the Australian series' points standings with 1050 points to Davison's 937 but with one round to go - at Victoria's Phillip Island circuit in December - Davison has a mathematical chance of turning the tables on his Kiwi counterpart.

In other good news for the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge championship opening round this weekend the entry number now stands at 16, with last-minute additions to the official list published last week from top local drivers Ross Rutherford and Dean Cockerton.

This season the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge championship series is again one of the lynchpins of MotorSport New Zealand's premier Mike Pero Motorsport Series programme with seven rounds alongside the Parker ENZED NZ V8s Championship, Toyota Racing Series, Nicibo Production Racing Series and new MINI Challenge.

Each weekend there will be three Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge races, one on Saturday and two on Sunday. Traditionally the third and final race has always been over a longer distance, and this year that format will be enhanced by reversing the grid for the top 10 starters.

Pukekohe's Pukekohe Park Raceway hosts the first round of the 2006/07 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Championship this weekend with subsequent rounds at Christchurch's Powerbuilt International Raceway at Ruapuna Park, the new, extended Taupo Motorsport Park at Taupo, Manfeild Autocourse at Feilding, Timaru International Raceway and Invercargill's Teretonga Park before a return north for a high profile final back at Pukekohe Park Raceway at the annual Placemakers V8 Supercar meeting.

An undoubted highlight this season will be the January 19-21 2007 meeting at Taupo where the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Championship will be one of the categories supporting the inaugural New Zealand A1GP World Cup of Motorsport round.

<pre> CALENDAR 2006/07 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Championship

Rnd 1 Nov 3-5 2006      Pukekohe Park Raceway Pukekohe
Rnd 2 Nov 24-26 2006    Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway at Ruapuna Park Christchurch
Rnd 3 Jan 18-21 2007    Taupo Motorsport Park Taupo
Rnd 4 Feb 16-18 2007    Manfeild Autocourse Feilding
Rnd 5 Mar 2-4 2007      Timaru International Motor Raceway (Levels) Timaru
Rnd 6 Mar 9-11 2007     Teretonga Park Raceway Invercargill
Rnd 7 April 20-22 2007  Pukekohe Park Raceway Pukekohe (Placemakers V8 Supercar meeting)

-credit: fastcompany.co.nz

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Series General
Drivers Matthew Halliday , Fabian Coulthard , Craig Baird , Alex Davison , Dean Cockerton , Phillip Island
Teams Toyota Racing