Porsche front-runner Craig Baird has set the quickest practice time for Porsche Carrera Cup Australia at Bathurst, with the New Zealander and Adam Gowans posting the best Friday times in the Professional Class and Elite Class, respectively.
Baird’s lap time of 2:11.162 in Friday’s morning practice session was not beaten in the championship’s second practice session later in the day.
The championship leader finished the day three-tenths quicker than Warren Luff, with Nick Percat leading Steven Richards with the third and fourth quickest times for the day. This result meant that the four drivers who are also competing in Sunday’s Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercars race finished at the top of the timesheets.
“Everything was good today; I know that I usually race fairly well here even though I haven’t won a huge amount of races at Bathurst,” said Baird.
“We had a good car here last year and the car felt good straight away this morning. Now that practice is done and dusted we can shift our focus onto qualifying.”
Baird, who is also racing in the #4 Erebus Motorsport V8 Supercar alongside Lee Holdsworth, added that he is not fazed by his busy Bathurst schedule.
“Lee Holdsworth looks after the V8 Supercar, so I jump in and do as I’m told, and the Carrera Cup team looks after the Porsche. The hardest thing is walking around with my schedule and making sure that I turn up at the right car at the right time and jump in the right side.”
Michael Patrizi was the fastest non-V8 Supercar racer in the opening two practice sessions in fifth, from Elite Class pace-setter Adam Gowans, who is making his fourth round start of his Carrera Cup career.
“It’s just a matter of learning the track and how much pace you can carry everywhere, along with getting more consistent and becoming a braver,” said Gowans.
“I’ve raced here before in the Bathurst 12 Hour in a Lotus, which was about 12 seconds-a-lap slower than the Porsche. This is a totally different car with a lot more speed and a lot more grip; it’s pretty daunting across the top of the mountain.
“My goal for the weekend is to win in the Elite Class. It all starts tomorrow morning in qualifying. I will try to get a good run in the qualifying session and then run in the mix with the Professional Class drivers in the races.”
Shae Davies posted the seventh quickest time for the day from Max Twigg, Shane Smollen, Tony Bates, Duvashen Padayachee, Damien Flack, James Bergmuller, Paul Kelly, Stephen Grove, Marc Cini and championship debutant Gavin Bullas, who posted the 17th quickest time in his first Carrera Cup appearance.
Michael Loccisano was the 18th quickest driver over the two practice sessions from Tony Walls, Renee Gracie and Rusty French.