CRAIG BAIRD STARS ON HOME TRACK Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) has made the perfect start to his Carrera Cup round at the City of Ipswich 400 at Queensland Raceway today by winning the first race of the weekend. After qualifying on...
CRAIG BAIRD STARS ON HOME TRACK
Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) has made the perfect start to his Carrera Cup round at the City of Ipswich 400 at Queensland Raceway today by winning the first race of the weekend.
After qualifying on pole this morning the Gold Coast based Kiwi streaked off the line, led the field into turn one and was never headed.
The win is Baird's third in four races and extends his Championship lead over Dean Fiore (Complispace/Advance Energy) to 234 points.
Fiore finished second in today's race after starting from fourth on the grid, giving himself every opportunity to win the round and reduce Baird's lead at the top.
The final podium position was claimed by Carrera Cup rookie James Moffat (Bob Jane T-Mart/Trueline) who started from second, his best ever qualification in the all-Porsche category.
Aaron Caratti (Parklands on Bertram) finished fourth, while Bryce Washington (ADRAD) was fifth.
Fellow Queenslanders David Russell (Boom Logistics), Paul Stokell (Sherrin Rentals), Grant Sherrin and Shaun Juniper (Juniper Developments) finished sixth, 10th, 14th and 17th respectively.
James Koundouris (Supabarn Supermarkets), who finished 12th overall, was the best of the Pilatus Challenge competitors, which is a championship-within-a-championship for non-professional drivers over the age of 30.
But out front it was all Baird, who opened a lead of nearly one second after the first lap and never looked like being caught.
"I got a great start and was never really challenged from there," Baird said.
Fiore made up two grid positions in a matter of corners after the start, but was unable to catch the Kiwi, who jumped straight out of his Porsche and into the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Development Series.
"I got a great start to move up those two positions but I wasn't able to maximise the car on cold tyres," Fiore said.
"Baird's good on cold tyres but it was only the one lap where he put four-tenths of a second on me, for the rest of the race we were pretty even.
"I start on the front row for the first race tomorrow so if I can get another great start a win is on the cards."
After qualifying as well as he did Moffat was hoping for a better result than third, but was satisfied with the podium.
"After qualifying this morning I was expecting a bit higher finish but after I stuffed the start that was always going to be hard," he said.
"My pace seemed ok early but dropped off and the car was a bit of a handful, but we'll work on it overnight and hopefully have a better result tomorrow."
Moffat's result also moved him up the Michelin Rookie of the Year standings after current leader Barton Mawer (No Fear) finished last after his right rear tyre peeled off the rim on the second last lap.
Round Six of Carrera Cup finishes tomorrow, with Races Two and Three.
But it won't be long before the all-Porsche category is back, with the Carrera Cup Highlights programme airing on Network 7 on Saturday, July 26.
The next round of the Championship will be at the L&H 500 at Phillip Island from September 12-14.