AUS: Gold Coast preview

Craig Baird (VIP Petfoods) -- Baird has the opportunity to secure the championship at the Lexmark Indy 300 if he can finish ahead of his closest rival and 2004 series champion Alex Davison. This will give him enough of a points lead ahead of the...

Craig Baird (VIP Petfoods) -- Baird has the opportunity to secure the championship at the Lexmark Indy 300 if he can finish ahead of his closest rival and 2004 series champion Alex Davison. This will give him enough of a points lead ahead of the final round at Phillip Island. Going into the Lexmark Indy 300, Baird has a 185 point margin over Davison, with the maximum number of points that a driver can win at any round - 180. The 36-year-old has not finished any lower than second over the first six rounds. He also has an affinity with the 4.47km Gold Coast street circuit after recording his first Carrera Cup race and round wins there in 2004.

Alex Davison (Glenfords Tool Centres / DeWalt) -- Davison is still in contention for the championship but only by the skin of his teeth. The 26-year-old has to hope that Baird has at least two DNFs to be able to catch him in the points. Davison was very quick in Bathurst setting a new Porsche lap record there before an uncharacteristic 'off' on the final turn cost him four race places and critical points.

David Reynolds (Bob Jane T-Marts) -- Reynolds is in white hot form, winning his maiden Carrera Cup round at Sandown before going onto claim an impressive round win in Bathurst last week. The 21-year-old from Albury has won three of the past four races in the championship, as well as claimed the past two pole positions to highlight his and Sonic Motor Racing's form. He is within striking distance of Davison who sits in second, 76 points ahead.

Jim Richards (OAMPS Insurance Brokers) -- Richards won the first Carrera Cup round to be staged on the Gold Coast when he recorded pole position and three race wins back in 2003. The inaugural series champion finished fourth at the most recent round at Bathurst to consolidate his fourth position in the standings.

David Wall (Glenfords Tool Centres / Hitachi) -- Wall currently leads the Michelin Rookie of the Year for first season Porsche drivers, and recorded his highest round placing of fifth at Bathurst last week. The 23-year-old from Sydney also produced his best race place of fourth at Bathurst, and has moved up to eighth in the overall standings.

The Title Chase:

Leading into Round 7 of the championship this weekend, drivers and teams are vying for the prestigious Overall Championship in 2006 as well as a host of other awards.

Interesting Facts and Figures:

This is the fourth time that the all-Porsche racing series has been staged at the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast. Last year, Fabian Coulthard claimed pole and won all three races en route to the overall round win. In 2004, Alex Davison started from pole, won race one, Jim Richards won race two with Craig Baird winning race three and ultimately the round.

A field of 22 drivers will race in the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 997) cars at the Lexmark Indy 300. This new model has enhanced aerodynamics - a new front section and a larger rear wing produces 40 percent more downforce than the previous 996 model. The six-speed sequential gearbox makes gear shifting faster and more failsafe, while the ABS brakes are replaced by tandem racing master cylinders and an in-car brake bias adjustment control.

Rodney Jane will participate in the Team Australia Speed Comparison at the Lexmark Indy 300. His Bob Jane T-Marts backed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car will be pitted against a Champ Car and a MINI Cooper S over one flying lap of the Lexmark Indy 300 circuit on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

David Reynolds scored his fifth race win in Carrera Cup Australia history at the previous round at Bathurst and is behind the quartet -- Jim Richards (31), Alex Davison (25), Fabian Coulthard (18) and Craig Baird (10). Reynolds has two round wins and also sits behind Richards (10), Davison (8), Coulthard (6) and Baird (4).

Gold Coast driver Craig Baird had his maiden race and round win in Carrera Cup Australia at the Lexmark Indy 300 in 2004.

The Lexmark Indy 300 will be the home round for the entire Team VIP Petfoods crew with Craig Baird, Klark and Tony Quinn all residing on the Gold Coast within 20 minutes of the track.

Klark Quinn loves the Lexmark Indy 300 having recorded his best round finish of second last year, his best race finish of second last year, and his best qualifying result of fourth also last year.

Klark's father Tony Quinn also set his best Carrera Cup race finish of third in 2004 and round finish of fourth that same year.

Rodney Jane had his best qualifying result in the Carrera Cup of fourth on the Gold Coast back in 2003.

Paul Freestone enjoyed his visit to the Lexmark Indy 300 last year producing his best qualifying result in the all-Porsche category of ninth, his best race finish of third and his best round position of sixth.

It was a successful outing for Bryce Washington on the Gold Coast last season with a Carrera Cup career best race place of third and round finish of fifth.

John Kaias returns to the championship after missing the previous round at Bathurst and will jump back in the #77 Abcor backed Porsche.

Nine of the Porsche drivers at Indy are under 30 years of age -- Alex Davison, Jonathon Webb, Aaron Caratti, Bryce Washington, David Reynolds, David Russell, David Wall, Dean Fiore and Klark Quinn.

There have been 10 newcomers to the category in 2006 - David Russell, Dean Fiore, Daniel Pappas, Aaron Caratti, David Wall, Anthony Tratt, John Kaias, Damien Flack, Shaun Juniper and Max Twigg.

Eight drivers have contested each season of Carrera Cup in Australia since its introduction in 2003 - Jim Richards, Klark Quinn, Peter Fitzgerald, Rodney Jane, Dean Grant, Marc Cini, Jonathon Webb and Tony Quinn.

Alex Davison, Craig Baird and Anthony Tratt jumped out of their full-time V8 Supercar seats from last year to get into the left-hand drive seats of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars this year.

-credit: www.cupcar.com.au

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Jim Richards , Rodney Jane , Fabian Coulthard , Craig Baird , Alex Davison , Anthony Tratt , Bob Jane , Tony Quinn , Klark Quinn , Paul Freestone , Jonathon Webb , Bryce Washington , Damien Flack , David Wall , John Kaias , Max Twigg , Shaun Juniper , David Reynolds , Marc Cini , Aaron Caratti , Dean Grant , Dean Fiore , David Russell , Phillip Island