CRAIG BAIRD MAKES IT FOUR FROM FIVE Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) has extended his lead at the top of the Carrera Cup Australia championship ladder after taking out Round Five of the season at Sandown Raceway this afternoon. The Kiwi...
CRAIG BAIRD MAKES IT FOUR FROM FIVE
Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) has extended his lead at the top of the Carrera Cup Australia championship ladder after taking out Round Five of the season at Sandown Raceway this afternoon.
The Kiwi racer didn't win the final race of the afternoon -- that privilege went to the Jim Richards backed David Wall (Shannons Insurance) -- but his two victories in the first two races and a second in the final race saw him home.
The win makes it the fourth win from the first five rounds of the season and Baird is on track to become the first ever two-time Carrera Cup Australia champion.
"Four wins out of five isn't a bad way to start the season and we are obviously heading in the right direction," he said.
"But there is still a long way to go in the Championship and all it takes is one bad round for the pack to catch up so I can't afford to take anything for granted."
While the round belonged to Baird it was a ground breaking round for Wall, whose victory in Race Three was his first ever Carrera Cup win.
It also means that five separate drivers have race victories under their belts this season.
Wall finished second overall for the round which was also his best ever Carrera Cup result.
And understandably he was ecstatic with the result.
"To finally get a race win after being in the category for three years is more of a relief but I'm so happy to have done it," he said.
"The car felt great all weekend and I'm absolutely wrapt that I can repay my sponsors and team with a win."
Bryce Washington (ADRAD Radiators) was third overall -- also his best ever Carrera Cup result -- and his third place in the final race matched his best ever race result.
It was a brilliant result by Washington who climbed from ninth in qualifying to finish fourth twice and third in the weekend's three races.
"Bouncing back to finish in third is really satisfying," he said.
"I still make some small errors at the wrong times, which is a bit annoying, so if I can rectify those I think I can be this high more often."
David Russell (Boom Logistics) was fourth overall for the weekend, while James Moffat (Bob Jane T-Marts/Trueline) was fifth.
Rodney Jane (Bob Jane T-Marts) had his best overall result of the season in finishing sixth, while Jono Lester (Blackwoods/JBS Tools), Paul Stokell (Sherrin Rentals), James Koundouris (Supabarn Supermarkets) and Dean Fiore (Complispace/Advance Energy) rounded out the weekend top 10.
It was a great result for Lester, whose seventh overall was the best finish of his short Carrera Cup career.
In the Pilatus Challenge, which is for non-professional drivers over the age of 30, James Koundouris took the round win, with Peter Hill (Boost/Globe) second and Shaun Juniper (Juniper Developments) third.
The result closes Hill's gap at the top to James Koundouris to 18 points, with Theo in third.
The final race of the weekend was run in tricky conditions, with showers early in the afternoon making for a greasy track.
However by the time the Porsches hit the track a dry-line was clearly visible, meaning fast times were possible if drivers stuck to the line.
With the dry-line on the outside of the track, Wall was able to get the jump on Baird at the start of the race and he held his position, which he never relinquished, into the first corner.
Behind him Russell also began brilliantly and he was up to fourth from eighth by the first corner, while Washington snuck past Baird into second.
Wall was able to maintain his gap at the front until the remaining few laps, where Baird, who snuck past Washington in the middle of the race, put him under enormous pressure.
But he managed to hold on and he heads into Round Six at Queensland Raceway brimming with confidence.
In today's earlier race, Baird took the win from Wall and James Moffat.
While there was some brilliant driving up the front -- which for most of the race saw positions two to seven bunched so closely as to barely tell the cars apart -- the race will be talked about more for an incident at turn four on the first lap.
Theo Koundouris was spun by Andrew Moffat (V8 Super Loans) at the exit of the corner, causing a concertina affect which involved eight cars.
Seven of those were forced to retire, including championship hopefuls Fiore and Caratti.
Moffat was later given a pit lane penalty for the incident which relegated him to 13th in the race.
The next stop on the Carrera Cup calendar is Queensland Raceway from July 18-20, but before then Round Five highlights will screen nationally on Channel 7 on June 14.