Baird conquers Mount Panorama with clean sweepPorsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia, Round 6, Race 3, Sunday
Three from three: Triple Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia champion Craig Baird was unstoppable at Mount Panorama in the sixth round of the competitive one-make championship.
Kept occupied by his other duty racing alongside Lee Holdsworth in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 race, Baird managed the workload with perfection, claiming pole position and three race wins.
Sunday’s final race of the round saw Baird take the lead from the start with Jeroen Bleekemolen in tow. The duo pulled away from the field; however the Dutchman was unable to challenge for the lead, which allowed Baird to take his 46th Carrera Cup Australia career race win and a new lap record.
“I’m absolutely rapt. The car was good and everything worked really well all weekend. There are no complaints from me; it was spot on in every session,” said Baird, who had immense praise for this Dutch rival.
“I have a huge amount of respect for Jeroen Bleekemolen. For a bloke to come from Europe, having only raced here once in the 12 Hour, and be that competitive is amazing and a credit to him.”
Alex Davison secured third for the race, placing him second for the round overall after the Guest Driver Bleekemolen was ineligible to score points.
After a difficult start to the weekend, Nick Foster fought back to finish fourth in Race 3 from Steven Richards, Jonny Reid – who secured third for the round – Daniel Gaunt, Ant Pedersen and Andre Heimgartner in ninth.
James Koundouris was pleased with his 10th placed finish ahead of 11th placed Tony Bates and Max Twigg in 12th; the result placing the three drivers on equal Elite Class round points after the race, handing Koundouris the round win after placing highest in the final race.
“It was great to be back in the car. I haven’t been in the car for three months since the Townsville round; it’s been a while so I crawled into it. I actually felt very rusty in the first couple of sessions but it was nice to gradually get to the front. I just tried to keep my times consistent throughout the races and it paid off.”
Marc Cini finished 13th in the final race from Troy Wilson, Michael Loccisano, Ray Angus and Stephen Grove.
The round win hands Baird a lengthy 114 point lead in the Outright standings over Davison, with Reid 95 points further adrift with two rounds remaining.
Baird also was the best placed current Carrera Cup driver in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercars race, placing eighth with co-driver Lee Holdsworth.
Twigg retains the lead in the Elite Class standings, placed 249 points ahead of round winner Koundouris, with Bates in third 78 points further behind.
Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia next visits the streets of Surfers Paradise for the Armor All Gold Coast 600 on October 19-21, 2012.