HOME TOWN RUN CONTINUES FOR CRAIG BAIRD Six times Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) has raced in the Carrera Cup at Queensland Raceway and after three victories at the City of Ipswich 400 this weekend, six times he's won. It's an ...
HOME TOWN RUN CONTINUES FOR CRAIG BAIRD
Six times Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) has raced in the Carrera Cup at Queensland Raceway and after three victories at the City of Ipswich 400 this weekend, six times he's won.
It's an amazing record for the Gold Coast based Porsche driver and one which never looked like being challenged after he won Race One yesterday.
Baird followed his victory in the first race by claiming Races Two and Three today for a clean sweep of the "Paperclip" circuit.
The hat-trick extends his lead in the Championship to 252 points over Dean Fiore (Complispace/Advance Energy) and while Fiore finished second overall this weekend, after finishing second and third in the final two races today, he will need to reverse the result at Carrera Cup Australia's next round at the L&H 500 Phillip Island in September.
Carrera Cup rookie James Moffat (Bob Jane T-Marts/Trueline) equalled his best ever round result by claiming third overall, after finishing third and second respectively in the round's final two races.
Bryce Washington (ADRAD) was fourth overall for the weekend, while Rodney Forbes (Jaimie Vedda Racing) was fifth overall, which included fourth in the final race - his best ever Carrera Cup result.
David Wall (Shannons Insurance), David Russell (Boom Logistics), Rodney Jane (Bob Jane T-Marts), Paul Stokell (Sherrin Rentals) and Aaron Caratti (Parklands on Bertram) rounded out the weekend top 10.
In the Pilatus Challenge, which is for non-professional drivers over the age of 30, Theo Koundouris (Supabarn Supermarkets) took the win from Peter Hill (Boost/Globe) and Marc Cini (Hallmarc).
Theo won after his brother James was involved in a last lap incident with Caratti and Jono Lester (Blackwoods/JBS Tools), which forced him out of the race -- up until then he was on track for his third Pilatus Challenge win of the season. Shaun Juniper (Juniper Developments) was also involved and the incident was being investigated by category officials with further action expected to be taken.
Grant Sherrin (Sherrin Rentals) had his best ever weekend, finishing 12th overall. IT included eighth place in Race Three, his best Carrera Cup race result.
Even though Baird was jumping between the all-Porsche category and the Fujitsu V8 Development Series throughout the weekend he was always in control in Carrera Cup and always looked on track to take the round victory.
The weekend's final race saw Baird under pressure into turn one, but he managed to hold off a Fiore lunge around the outside and a Russell dip on the inside.
He steadily built his lead at the front and it was out to nearly three seconds before a safety car was called halfway through the race because a small grass fire broke out at turn five.
The safety car only lasted one lap but even that couldn't reduce Baird's dominance.
"I've done quite a few drive days at this track and know it really well, so I was always confident coming into the round," he said.
"I've got a pretty big lead in the Championship now but I can't ease up because all it takes is one bad round and the guys are right back in it."
Fiore was satisfied with second overall, especially considering he didn't have the pace to match it with Baird.
"It was good to get back on the podium given the past two weekends where I've had shockers," he said.
"On a weekend like this where I didn't have the outright pace it was important to keep in touch with Craig so even though he beat me it wasn't too bad a result."
Moffat was thrilled to secure another podium -- his second in three rounds.
"Obviously it's a great weekend to have finished on the podium," he said.
"In Perth I was a bit lucky to finish third but here I felt that I had the pace and drove well and made the most of my opportunities.
"It's a great team effort to get two cars on the podium and hopefully we can fill one and two at Phillip Island rather than two and three."
In Race Two earlier today, Baird made it two from two, but he was forced to work hard for it.
Fiore got the jump at the start and led for the first four laps, before Baird was able to sneak past.
From there he had the car speed to increase his gap and he drove away from the rest of the field.
Fiore was second with Moffat third, while James Koundouris was the Pilatus Challenge winner from his brother Theo and Hill.
Moffat did well to hold onto third after coming under enormous pressure from Caratti and then Russell. The Caratti challenge didn't last long however and he speared off the track at turn three after attempting to pass but locking his brakes instead.
Max Twigg (Trueloc) raised the ire of the officials and was given a pit lane penalty for hitting Barton Mawer (No Fear), which caused him to spin into Andrew Moffat (V8 Super Loans). No major damage was done however and all three finished the race.
The next round of the Championship will be at the L&H 500 at Phillip Island from September 12-14.
But the all-Porsche category will screen before then, with the Carrera Cup Highlights programme airing on Network 7 on Saturday, July 26.