BATTERY TOWN PORSCHE GT3 CUP SERIES TO BE DECIDED THIS WEEKEND? Will the 2004/05 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup series be decided at the Taupo round of the the Mike Pero Mortgages Motorsport motor racing series this weekend? That's what fans of...
BATTERY TOWN PORSCHE GT3 CUP SERIES TO BE DECIDED THIS WEEKEND?
Will the 2004/05 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup series be decided at the Taupo round of the the Mike Pero Mortgages Motorsport motor racing series this weekend?
That's what fans of the high-speed one-make series for factory-built Porsche GT3 Cup cars are wondering as series fast men Craig Baird and Matt Halliday meet for the second last time.
Baird and Halliday have been at it hammer and tongs since the beginning of the season, and both have had to come back from set-backs - particularly after the Timaru round when there was controversial contact between the pair resulting in both losing points - and in Halliday's case an early lead in the series standings.
In their absence Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge (for drivers 35-years-of-age and over) pace-setter Ross Rutherford took over the mantle of race winner and series points leader at Timaru, though Halliday and Baird were back on top at the next two South Island rounds.
Since then it has been Baird who has been in front, both on the track and in terms of the overall series points lead, Halliday's cause not helped by a minor electrical problem which forced him out of the first race at the fifth round at Christchurch's Powerbuilt Raceway at Ruapuna Park and had repercussions in both the other races. That put him on the back foot at that meeting, then Baird capitalised by putting together the perfect race weekend at the next, setting the fastest time in qualifying and winning all three Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup races.
Halliday, buoyed by a successful recent Champ Car test in the United States, is upbeat about this weekend, and the final round of the Battery Town series at Pukekohe Park in April, and because the difference between himself and Baird is so small - it is rarely more than hundredths of a second - he believes he still has a chance to turn the tables on his older, more experienced rival.
Things are a little more clear-cut in the Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge 'series-within-a-series' for drivers 35-years-of-age and older, with Hamilton businessman/racer Ross Rutherford heading to Taupo with a 195 point lead over Christchurch's Rick Armstrong.
Armstrong, however, will not be competing this weekend, meaning that Rutherford's closest points rival will be Auckland's Dean Fulford who is 200 points behind.
Expected to again feature at the Taupo track this weekend, after strong individual showings at the recent Manfeild round, are Auckland drivers Dean Cockerton and Rhys McKay. Both are still getting to grips with recently bought newer cars but McKay impressed in qualifying at Manfeild and Cockerton had signalled his intention to be a factor in the Tag Heur Carrera Challenge competition with some hard-charging driving in the races.
Christchurch's Paul Kelly also had one of his most competitive showings to date at Manfeild and should again do well on the tight Taupo circuit.
Joining the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup series on the bill at this weekend's Mike Pero Mortgages Motorsport series meeting at Taupo are the Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Cars, the Toyo Tyres Pro 7s and the SuperGTs.
There will be one 14 lap Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup series race on Saturday, a second 14 lap race on Sunday morning and a 22 lap final on Sunday afternoon.