BAIRD A CASUALTY IN CLIPSAL BATTLEFIELD Wright Patton Shakespeare V8 Supercar driver, Craig Baird, was one of nine drivers to bow out of race one in a war of attrition during the opening round of the V8 Supercar Championship on a testing...
BAIRD A CASUALTY IN CLIPSAL BATTLEFIELD
Wright Patton Shakespeare V8 Supercar driver, Craig Baird, was one of nine drivers to bow out of race one in a war of attrition during the opening round of the V8 Supercar Championship on a testing Adelaide street circuit yesterday. (SAT)
The fast-flying kiwi joined Mark Skaife, Steve Ellery, Greg Ritter, Jason Bargwanna, Simon Wills, Alex Davison and Matthew White who all posted DNFs in what quickly became a crash zone during the 78-lap race.
Baird was forced to dump the clutch to stop the car while doing 230kph after the throttle jammed open and he had braking problems on turn eight.
"We had dramas from the beginning of the day," said a disappointed Baird after eventually bowing out on lap 31.
"I struggled to stop the car after the throttle jammed and I did what I had to do to keep it off the wall. We went out and tried to stay out of trouble but from lap one we were on 'struggle street'.
"Hopefully we can iron out the problems we have been having with the car and go racing on what I consider to be one of the best circuits in the championship."
WPS racing teammate David Besnard was able to avoid the carnage and finished 18th after an ill-timed pit for fuel while running in third position. Besnard held his place with the frontrunners while briefly in third position, but could not maintain position after racing on worn tyres.
Besnard said he struggled with old tyres after not making his first pitstop until late in the race. He was eventually called in to pit for tyres but while heading back out was called in to re-fuel, his second compulsory stop, after his team believed the safety car was set to be deployed.
"That fuel stop certainly didn't help us but I was driving in a different race when I had the car up the front because of the tyres," he said.
"I guess at the end of the day we kept out of trouble and were able to bring the car home without damage. It's a fast and challenging circuit and the car felt great out there today, so hopefully we can keep improving the more we're on the track, which is what we have been successful in doing so far."
WPS Racing chief, Craig Gore, took full responsibility for Besnard's pit strategy, saying 'had I not made that call, we would have been lot further up the field'.
"One day we are going to take a big risk with our pit strategy and it will pay off, and they will call me lucky," said Gore.
Both Baird and Besnard are anticipating a better result today (SUN) in race two.
The WPS Racing outfit, sponsored by Gold Coast businessman Gore is enjoying its second year in the fiercely competitive V8 Supercar Championship and recently acquired the naming rights for both the Porsche Carrera Cup and Aussie Racers.