Townsville triumph for Baird and FlackPorsche Carrera Cup Australia: Round 4, Race 2 & 3, Sunday
Porsche ace Craig Baird’s dramatic change of form at Townsville has seen the New Zealander claim all three race wins, while Damien Flack ended Max Twigg’s run of Elite Class round victories.
After victory in Race 1 on Saturday, Baird scored achieved two unchallenged victories in Race 2 and Race 3, an impressive feat having never taken victory in Townsville.
In the opening Sunday race, the four-time Carrera Cup Australia champion took the lead from the start and maintained a healthy gap to his main rivals to win ahead of Nick Percat, Warren Luff, Michael Patrizi, Steven Richards, Shae Davies and Duvashen Padayachee in seventh.
Flack’s weekend continued to improve following his Friday practice crash, where he made heavy contact with a track barrier. Flack placed eighth in Race 2 from Twigg, Tony Bates, Stephen Grove, Michael Loccisano, Marc Cini, James Bergmuller, Tony Walls, Renee Gracie and Carrera Cup debutant Martin Wagg in 17th.
Race 1 Elite Class winner Shane Smollen failed to finish Race 2 after contacting the concrete barrier on the entry to the third-to-last corner of Lap 3, causing race-ending damage. Paul Kelly and James Koundouris also failed to finish when the pair made contact heading onto the front straight; a result of the latter unexpectedly losing drive.
Baird continued his Townsville domination in the final race, crossing the finish line over three seconds ahead of Luff, Richards, Patrizi, Davies, Elite Class race winner Twigg, Padayachee, Bates and Flack.
Kelly progressed from 18th on the grid to finish 10th from Bergmuller, Grove, Cini, Gracie, Loccisano, Wagg and Walls in 17th, who overcame a delaminated rear tyre after contact with Smollen on the opening lap.
Smollen’s race ended as a result of the Lap 1 contact, while Percat also failed to finish after puncturing a radiator.
In a dramatic change of form in Townsville, Baird was pleased with his perfect on-track performance which extended his championship lead to 74.5 points over Luff.
“I’ve chipped away here so often with seconds, thirds and fourths so whatever we’ve done here this weekend has been the right thing,” said Baird.
“This year we’ve won eight of the nine sprint races on track, though I got a post-race penalty in Adelaide and we missed one race win at the Grand Prix. It proves that we’ve got the car working well and we’re good on our tyres, which to be honest, is the result of pure experience.”
Behind Baird in the Professional Class round points were McElrea Racing stable-mates Luff and Patrizi, who finished second and third for the round, respectively.
Flack was also pleased with his impressive Townsville form, breaking Twigg’s run of three-straight Elite Class round wins from the opening three 2013 rounds.
“We’ve had the speed all year but have experienced the worse circumstances in the races; every round has thrown us something different,” said Flack.
“I had the hit in Friday afternoon practice, and it was great that I was able to retrieve something out of that. We’ve had very good pace this weekend, especially in the last race with a deflating rear right tyre.
“I’m starting to like the Townsville track more and more. I think the best thing about this round is the weather, it’s fantastic how you come here and everyone feels like they’re on holiday.”
Twigg and Bates ended on equal round points in the Elite Class behind Flack, however Twigg’s Race 3 class win handed him second for the round from Bates.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will next visit the rural Victorian circuit of Winton Motor Raceway on August 23-25, 2013, for the fifth round of the Porsche championship.