BAIRD COMPLETES HAT TRICK OF PORSCHE WINS DURING MILESTONE EVENT New Zealand Porsche driver Craig Baird completed a clean sweep of race wins today in Round 2 of the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup at Wakefield Park near Goulburn. Baird...
BAIRD COMPLETES HAT TRICK OF PORSCHE WINS DURING MILESTONE EVENT
New Zealand Porsche driver Craig Baird completed a clean sweep of race wins today in Round 2 of the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup at Wakefield Park near Goulburn.
Baird (Team VIP Petfoods) won a drama-filled race one featuring the first-ever compulsory pit stop race in Carrera Cup history, then took out the remaining two races to win the round and extend his championship lead.
Today also proved a return to the top two for Porsche legend and 2003 series winner Jim Richards (OAMPS Insurance Brokers), and capped off a meteoric rise for rookie Queensland driver David Russell (Boom Logistics / Sherrin Hire) who finished third overall.
Baird won the historic first compulsory pit stop race after starting from second on the grid next to polesitter Alex Davison (Glenfords Tool Centres/DeWalt).
Early morning fog caused the race to start under safety car conditions including the opening of the pit window on lap five. It was then that a stream of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars came into pit lane to change their front left wheel and Michelin tyre.
The Team VIP Petfoods crew performed a tidy change on Baird's Number-4 Porsche to ultimately set him up for a win in the shortened 20-lap race.
As expected numerous teams who had clean changes benefited from the introduction of the compulsory pit stop including Firepower Racing with Aaron Caratti (Firepower), Sherrin Motorsport with David Russell, Greg Murphy Racing with Anthony Tratt (Toll), the Acer, Leading Solutions and Hitachi Data Systems-backed Peter Fitzgerald and ROOCK Motorsport with Ash Samadi (ROOCK).
On the other side of the ledger, a few teams encountered problems during their stop, none more so than Paul Cruickshank Racing with pole sitter Alex Davison (Glenfords Tool Centres / Makita) and Sonic Motor Racing's David Reynolds (Bob Jane T-Marts).
During both of their changes, the teams' tension wrench broke adding precious time to the pit stop and ultimately costing them a high placed finish.
Adding further drama for Sonic Motor Racing was the fact that the on-the-pace Rodney Jane (Bob Jane T-Marts) could only pit after the race went green. His team mates Reynolds and Dean Fiore pitted under safety car conditions, and by the time Jane could pit, the green flag had emerged meaning that the Porsches on track were lapping at race pace.
Another beneficiary of the pit stop was Bryce Washington (ADRAD Racing) who was running a career-high second right up until the second last lap.
Arguably the unluckiest driver in the field this season, the Adelaide youngster was forced off the track on lap 19 with mechanical problems putting an end to his race.
Baird went on to take the checkered flag with a five second gap to Western Australian rookie Caratti in his best result in the all-Porsche category with Richards third, Russell fourth and Tratt fifth.
In race two, Baird led Richards, Caratti and Russell to the first turn as the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars settled into position.
As the race progressed, Russell forged a good battle with Richards at the front of the field, as the likes of Jonathon Webb (Glenfords Tool Centres / Makita), Reynolds and Davison made their way through the field from lower-than-usual grid positions.
At the end of the 16-lap dash, Baird held on from Richards, Russell, Webb, Ian Dyk and Caratti.
In the final 17-lap race, Baird once again led from start to finish to cap off a magnificent day for Team VIP Petfoods. Richards placed second with the youngest driver in the field Ian Dyk (Juniper Racing) rising to third, and Webb holding onto fourth.
Reynolds and Davison continued their progress to fifth and sixth respectively, while Russell, despite some late-race dramas, finished seventh. This placing enabled Russell to hold onto third for the round from the fast-finishing Dyk.
After two rounds of the eight-round championship, Baird has 354 points from Richards who has 282 points with Davison dropping back to third with 217 points.
"It turned out to be a great day especially for the Team VIP Petfoods crew who gave me a great pit stop and set up the day nicely," said Baird.
"It's nice to be out the front, and to be able to win all three races today, will give us a good point's advantage over Jimmy (Richards) and Alex (Davison), even though there is still a long way to go."