BAIRD WINS HISTORIC ROUND IN MELBOURNE Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) made history today at the FORMULA 1& ...
BAIRD WINS HISTORIC ROUND IN MELBOURNE
Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) made history today at the FORMULA 1™ ING Australian Grand Prix when he claimed the first ever Carrera Cup round win at the Albert Park circuit.
Baird took the win after his Race Three victory this morning, but he was made to fight for it the entire way by a determined Dean Fiore (Complispace/Advance Energy).
Fiore's second place today gave him the same number of points as Baird for the round, however the Kiwi's three race victories handed him the overall win.
David Russell (Boom Logistics) took the final podium spot for the round, but it was Aaron Caratti (Parklands on Bertram) who snared the final spot on the podium in the last race.
Max Twigg (Trueloc) completed his best ever Carrera Cup round by taking out the Pilatus Challenge (which is for non-professional drivers over the age of 30), with Shaun Juniper (Juniper Developments) second overall and Theo Koundouris (Supabarn Supermarkets) third.
With Baird's pace throughout the entire weekend Fiore knew he had to be right on his tail -- if not in front of him -- at the start if he was to stand any chance of victory.
Fiore got a good start, but with Russell and Baird also getting off the line well, the three of them headed into the first turns almost side by side. However it was Baird who stole the lead with Fiore and Russell right behind him.
Baird began to edge away in front, but behind him Fiore led a five way fight for second place.
Behind Fiore and Russell were Caratti, Bryce Washington (ADRAD) and Jonathan Webb (DTM Wheels) who were all pressing hard.
Russell was the first to make a mistake and on turn 10 on the second lap he went wide, with Caratti and Washington sneaking through.
Russell fought back strongly and looked to pass Washington, but the Sonic Motor Racing driver, in an effort to stop Russell, veered across the track, spun and was out of the race.
Washington was later charged by racing stewards for breaching the driving conditions.
The safety car was called which closed the gap to Baird at the front, but when the race restarted two laps later he was good enough to drive away with the victory.
Jono Lester (Blackwoods/JBS Tools) also drove well on his way to 13th, eight spots higher than where he started.
David Wall (Shannon's Insurance) had a disappointing end to the weekend after James Moffat (Bob Jane T-Marts/Trueline) made contact with him at the start and he was forced to retire.
Moffat was given a 30 second penalty as a result, which sent him to the rear of the grid.
Fiore was one driver particularly pleased with the weekend.
"It was a good weekend for sure," he said.
"Two podiums in the first two rounds is a great way to start the Championship and it gives me a good base to launch my title hopes from.
Caratti was also pleased with his round, which included his first ever Carrera Cup race win.
"I had a great start to the weekend with pole and a win in Race One, but I was a bit unlucky in Races Two and Three which set me back a bit," he said.
"So finishing fourth for the weekend was a good salvage operation and it gives me a bit more confidence heading into Wakefield Park."
Carrera Cup Australia's next round will be held at Wakefield Park Goulburn, from April 4 -- 6.
Pic caption: (From left), Dean Fiore (Complispace/Advance Energy), Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) and Aaron Caratti (Parklands on Bertram) celebrate their race results this morning; Baird leads Russell during the race.