AUS: Phillip Island finale preview

Craig Baird (VIP Petfoods) -- Gold Coast-based Kiwi Craig Baird knows what he has to do to secure his first Carrera Cup title and the first for his Team VIP Petfoods crew. He only has to earn 68 championship points from the maximum 180 points ...

Craig Baird (VIP Petfoods) -- Gold Coast-based Kiwi Craig Baird knows what he has to do to secure his first Carrera Cup title and the first for his Team VIP Petfoods crew. He only has to earn 68 championship points from the maximum 180 points available during the three race card at Phillip Island. And that is only if his nearest rival and former series champion Alex Davison wins all three races. He has kept up his good form since the previous round at Indy by going over to New Zealand and winning round one of the Battery Town GT3 Cup Challenge and finishing second in round two.

Alex Davison (Glenfords Tool Centres / DeWalt) -- An Alex Davison trifecta at Phillip Island is certainly not out of the question after the 27-year-old from Melbourne completed a clean sweep at the previous round on the Gold Coast for his Glenfords backed PCR outfit. Davison will not let Baird take the championship on a platter, and if not for an unfortunate pit stop malfunction at Wakefield Park, the championship would be a lot closer coming into the final round on the fast 4.46km circuit. Davison is aiming to be the first two-time Carrera Cup champion in Australia.

David Reynolds (Bob Jane T-Marts) -- Ready to give Craig Baird and Alex Davison one hell of a struggle is the exciting young David Reynolds who has campaigned ever so impressively this season for the Bob Jane T-Marts supported Sonic Motor Racing team. The 21-year-old from Albury claimed his maiden round win in a Porsche at round five at Sandown and backed that up with another sensational round win at Bathurst. Reynolds sits comfortably in third in the overall standings, 99 points ahead of the master of Porsche racing Jim Richards. He has good memories of Phillip Island after starting on the front row last year and winning race one.

Jim Richards (OAMPS Insurance Brokers) -- Jim Richards has finished in the top three of each Carrera Cup championship contested in Australia since the first in 2003. He has aspirations to do so again this year although will have to make up a considerable gap on David Reynolds. But in racing, anything can happen. Richards won the round at Phillip Island last year after claiming pole position after also winning at Phillip Island in 2003, and will be aiming to finish the season on a high.

Jonathon Webb (Glenfords Tool Centres / Makita) -- Jonathon Webb wants to consolidate a top five finish in this year's championship. The youngster has yet to register a podium position this year but has the capability and ability to achieve that in this final round of the season. His best race result this year was a second place in the final race at Sandown, while he also has three fifth-place round finishes to his credit. A podium would be a great 23rd birthday present on the Sunday.

David Russell (Boom Logistics / Sherrin Hire) -- Perhaps the closest racing for the round could come between rookie combatants David Russell and David Wall as only six points separates the two of them in the Michelin Rookie of the Year stakes. Wall may have the slight point's ascendancy in this award but his slightly older challenger by one year, Russell, sits ahead in the overall championship in sixth spot. The Queenslander has had a great rookie season securing two podium round finishes to give him plenty of confidence about his future.

David Wall (Glenfords Tool Centres / Hitachi) -- David Wall has his eyes set on the Michelin Rookie of the Year title, and knows his round is basically a match race between him and David Russell. The 23-year-old from Sydney had a season's best result at Bathurst finishing fifth overall for the round including two fourth place race finishes along the way.

Rodney Jane (Bob Jane T-Marts) -- David Reynolds' team mate Rodney Jane could also be celebrating at Phillip Island if Jane can take out his first TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge award for the leading privateer driver over 30 years of age. Currently Jane leads these standings by a whopping 144 points which is by no small part due to the past 11 races where he has finished as the leading privateer entrant in the field. Jane's only challenger for the top honour is Team VIP Petfoods owner and competitor Tony Quinn while Dean Grant, the winner of this award for the previous two seasons, has a fight on his hands to hold onto third place.

The Title Chase:

Leading into Round 8 of the championship, drivers and teams are vying for the prestigious Overall Championship in 2006 as well as a host of other awards.

Interesting Facts and Figures:

Jonathon Webb will celebrate his 23rd birthday on the Sunday of the Phillip Island round (December 10), while Dean Fiore celebrated his 23rd birthday on December 1.

The first ever championship round of Carrera Cup Australia was held at Phillip Island in 2003 with Jim Richards claiming pole position and clean sweeping all three races. Jim Richards is the only Porsche driver to have won an official Carrera Cup Australia championship round at Phillip Island. Richards won both Carrera Cup rounds staged at Phillip Island -- 2003 and 2005.

This is the third time that the all-Porsche racing series has been staged at Phillip Island in Victoria. Last year, Jim Richards claimed pole and went on to claim the round win although he didn't win a race -- David Reynolds won the first race with Fabian Coulthard winning race two and three. In 2003, Jim Richards started from pole, and won all three races en route to the round win.

Alex Davison is closing in on Jim Richards for the most number of race wins and round wins in Carrera Cup Australia history. Drivers who have accrued 10 or more race wins include Jim Richards (31), Alex Davison (27), Fabian Coulthard (18) and Craig Baird (10). Drivers who have accrued two or more round wins include Jim Richards (10), Alex Davison (9), Fabian Coulthard (6), Craig Baird (4) and David Reynolds (2).

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

There have been three different race and round winners so far this season -- Alex Davison, Craig Baird and David Reynolds. Baird has won nine races, Davison has won eight races while Reynolds has won three races. All up, Baird has won three rounds while both Davison and Reynolds have won two rounds each.

Alex Davison has started from pole position five times this season while David Reynolds claimed pole position twice. Craig Baird has yet to be a fastest qualifier.

Nine of the Porsche drivers at Phillip Island 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.

Peter Fitzgerald's best round result in Carrera Cup Australia was his second placing at Phillip Island in 2003.

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, Fujitsu is the Official Plasma TV and Gatorade is the Official Sports Drink.

ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP

Twenty-two drivers from Australia and New Zealand in 22 brand new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 997) cars are vying for prestigious championship acclaim in 2006. Exhibiting innovation, emotion, aspiration and fascination, the marque is Porsche and the championship is the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup Australia.

The Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup Australia is the primary support category to the V8 Supercar Championship Series. The championship, in its fourth season in Australia, will travel to nine events (eight official championship rounds) in five states in 2006 and exhilarate crowds of more than 1.3 million people.

All cars in the 2006 Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup Australia were developed and built by Porsche's racing headquarters in Weissach, Germany. With a top speed in excess of 300 kilometres per hour, the lightweight, high performance vehicles have a 400 horsepower, 6 cylinder Boxer engine which revs to 8000 RPM, producing a sound that is distinctly Porsche.

Drivers will vie for the prestigious Overall Championship in 2006, as well as a host of other awards including the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge for the leading privateer driver 30 years of age or older; the Michelin Rookie of the Year for the leading driver who has not competed in more than six rounds of a Porsche racing series prior to 2006; and the Mobil 1 Hard Charger for the driver who makes up the most number of grid positions in points-scoring races over the eight rounds.

The championship is proudly sponsored by Wright Patton Shakespeare which offers a full range of financial services products from superannuation and insurance through to home loans and investment property. Wright Patton Shakespeare consists of four specialist companies -- Finance, Realty, Financial Services and Law.

-credit: cupcar.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 , Peter Fitzgerald , 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