AUS: Oran Park round four preview

Craig Baird (VIP Petfoods) -- Baird has steadily built a 108-point lead over Jim Richards in the overall standings. This has been managed through seven race wins and two second-placings out of the nine championship races so far. He has earned the...

Craig Baird (VIP Petfoods) -- Baird has steadily built a 108-point lead over Jim Richards in the overall standings. This has been managed through seven race wins and two second-placings out of the nine championship races so far. He has earned the favouritism tag coming up to the mid-way point in the season.

Jim Richards (OAMPS Insurance Brokers) -- Richards sits in second spot in the standings through his experience and consistent driving. Although yet to win a race this season, Richards has accrued two second-placings, three third-placings and four fourth-placings. The 2003 series champion can never be discounted.

Alex Davison (Glenfords Tool Centres / DeWalt) -- Davison is one with the speed to match Baird at the front of the pack. The only two races that Baird has finished second have been behind Davison, the 2004 series champion. Only a mishap in race one at Wakefield Park sees Davison so far back in the points in third spot. But with five rounds still to go, anything is possible.

David Reynolds (Bob Jane T-Marts) -- While it will be hard for young Reynolds to win the overall championship honours from here, the rising star of Australian motorsport is well capable to crack the top three. If he can stay out of trouble, he has the speed and audacity to challenge Baird, Richards and Davison for race wins.

Ian Dyk (Juniper Development Group) -- Dyk is benefiting this season by a move to Queensland to join Sherrin Motorsport. The youngest driver in the field moved up to fifth place overall at the last round at Hidden Valley and is not far behind Reynolds who sits fourth. Dyk has yet to stand on the podium this year but Oran Park could be the round given his affinity for the circuit -- he holds the race lap record in a Porsche.

Jonathon Webb (Glenfords Tool Centres / Makita) -- Webb had a disappointing round at his last start at Hidden Valley finishing 12th. This dropped him back to fifth in the championship, but a change in fortune must be just around the corner. Webb will be buoyed by the news he will be partnering Marcus Marshall in the Glenfords Racing V8 Supercar entry at Sandown and Bathurst, in addition to his Porsche commitments.

The Title Chase:

Leading into Round 4 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.

A field of 22 drivers will race in the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 997) cars at Oran Park. 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.

The same 22 drivers have competed in all of the first three rounds of the 2006 championship.

Craig Baird has a 108-point lead over Jim Richards with a further 35 points back to Alex Davison. The winner of each race in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup receives 60 points, second receives 54 points, third receives 48 points and so on, down to a DNF which receives 0 points. Thus Baird has more than a one-race gap on Richards and two-race gap on Davison.

Dean Grant celebrates his 40th birthday on August 12 -- the Saturday of the Oran Park round.

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

Ten of the Porsche drivers at Hidden Valley are under 30 years of age -- Jonathon Webb, Aaron Caratti, Bryce Washington, Daniel Pappas, David Reynolds, David Russell, David Wall, Dean Fiore, Ian Dyk and Klark Quinn.

There are seven newcomers to the category in 2006 - David Russell, Dean Fiore, Daniel Pappas, Aaron Caratti, David Wall, Anthony Tratt and John Kaias.

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.

Sherrin Motorsport's David Russell became the eighth rookie since the category's inception in 2003 to stand on the podium. Russell's third placing at Wakefield Park at Round 2 put him on the honour roll with Marcus Marshall (2003), Tim Leahey (2003), Fabian Coulthard (2004), James Cressey (2004), Luke Youlden (2005), David Reynolds (2005) and Ian Dyk (2005).

Craig Baird is in fourth in the all-time lists for Most Round Wins and Most Race Wins in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup. Baird has four round wins and sits behind Richards (10), Davison (7) and Coulthard (6). He also has accrued eight race wins and is behind the same trio -- Richards (31), Davison (21) and Coulthard (18).

David Reynolds will be competing in the 1 Hour event with Sven Burchartz at Phillip Island the week after the Oran park round. Reynolds will also be hosting 20 guests from Harbour IT -- an Associate Sponsor of his car -- at Oran Park.

A number of new sponsors have been introduced to the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup for 2006. Mobil is the Official Automotive Lubricant Partner, MAN is the Official Transporter, Pilatus is the Official Executive Aircraft, ZF Sachs is the Official Suspension and Clutch Components Provider, Adidas is the Official Uniform Supplier, The Autograph Shop is the Official Memorabilia Provider, and Gatorade is the Official Sports Drink.

Next Round: Round 5 -- Sandown, Melbourne -- September 1 to 3

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Series Porsche
Drivers Tim Leahey , Marcus Marshall , Jim Richards , Rodney Jane , Fabian Coulthard , Craig Baird , Alex Davison , Anthony Tratt , Luke Youlden , Bob Jane , Klark Quinn , Jonathon Webb , Bryce Washington , Ian Dyk , Sven Burchartz , David Wall , David Reynolds , Marc Cini , Aaron Caratti , Dean Grant , Dean Fiore , David Russell , Phillip Island