Trans-Tasman Element Adds New Twist To Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup protagonists Matt Halliday and Craig Baird will have something else to fight for at the third round of the 2004/05 series at the Timaru...
Trans-Tasman Element Adds New Twist To Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup
Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup protagonists Matt Halliday and Craig Baird will have something else to fight for at the third round of the 2004/05 series at the Timaru International Motor Raceway this weekend.
The round is the first of four which will carry points for both the Porsche Trans-Tasman GT3 Cup and the Country Cup with expat Craig Baird set to captain the Australian team and Auckland-based international Matt Halliday the New Zealand one.
Joining Hamilton-born, now Gold Coast, Queensland-based Baird on the Australian team will be 'true-blue' Aussies Bryce Washington and Jonathan Webb. Also expected to be drafted into the Australian side as a result of the last minute scratching of another expat - David Thexton - is Hong Kong-based Canadian Chinese Darryl O'Young, who last year competed in the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia.
Former Australian Formula Ford championship front-runner Washington, from Adelaide, is using the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Series to get 'race fit' for this year's Carrera Cup Championship in Australia. The 21-year-old made a big impression on his New Zealand debut at the second round of the Mike Pero Mortgages Motorsport series at Christchurch's Powerbuilt Raceway (nee Ruapuna Park) in November, where he qualified fourth overall behind Baird, Halliday and Ross Rutherford then carded a 7/7/5 run through the weekend's races.
Compatriot Webb is another talented youngster, the 22-year-old from Sydney finishing sixth overall in the 2004 Australian Carrera Cup championship with a best finish of second overall at the Bob Jane T-Marts meeting at Bathurst.
As far as the overall Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup series standings are concerned fans at the Timaru International Raceway this weekend can expect another intense cat-and-mouse battle between early series leader Halliday and arch-rival Baird.
The pair had the large crowd on their feet and cheering at the Christchurch round of the series late last year with 25-year-old Aucklander Halliday recovering from a high-speed off in practice to win two of the three races from fastest qualifier Baird.
Behind them Hamilton's Ross Rutherford got the better of Rick Armstrong and Mike Weeks in qualifying and ended up third overall behind Halliday and Baird.
Armstrong also put in a strong showing and should again feature this weekend.
With the prospect of over 20 Porsche GT3 Cup cars on the grid there will also be plenty of interest in the mid-field where at the first two rounds the action was just as fast and as furious as it was at the front.
Expected to be in the thick of it again will be Christchurch drivers Angus McFarlane and Paul Kelly, Invercargill's Scott O'Donnell, Aucklanders Graeme Cameron, Shane McKillen and Andrew Bagnall, and high profile series newcomer, Team Emirates New Zealand 'skipper' Grant Dalton.
The Timaru round of the annual Mike Pero Mortgages Motorsport Series is always one of the most popular with crowds of over 10,000 converging on the tight, technical, 2.4km circuit at Levels, north-west of the city. Joining the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Series on the programme this weekend are the Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Cars, Bridgestone Porsches, Talley's Formula Fords and the new Toyota Racing Series for identical Toyota-powered single seater racing cars.
2004/05 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Series Points after Rnd 2 of 8 1. Matt Halliday 434 points 2. Craig Baird 406 3. Ross Rutherford 330 4. Mike Weeks 314 5. Rick Armstrong 309 6. Dean Fulford 283 7. Paul Kelly 210 8. Graeme Cameron 204 9. Scott O'Donnell 171 10. Angus McFarlane 161 11. Bryce Washington 133 12. Michael Morton 131 13. Shane McKillen 96 14. Grant Dalton 84 15. Andrew Bagnall 63 16. Jamie Peters 61 17. Rhys McKay 29
CALENDAR Rnd 1 Oct 16-17 Pukekohe Park Raceway Auckland Rnd 2 Nov 27-28 Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway at Ruapuna Park Christchurch Rnd 3 Jan 8-9 Timaru International Motor Raceway (Levels) Timaru Rnd 4 Jan 15-16 Teretonga Park Raceway Invercargill Rnd 5 Jan 22-23 Ruapuna Park Raceway Christchurch Rnd 6 Feb 19-20 Manfeild Autocourse Feilding Rnd 7 Mar 12-13 Taupo Motor Racing Circuit Taupo Rnd 8 April 15/16/17 Pukekohe Park Raceway Pukekohe (Placemakers V8 Supercar meeting)