Defending Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge champion Craig Baird set the theme for this weekend’s fourth round of the series at Timaru by claiming the afternoon race win in the ZM Mad Butcher Porsche 997 at Timaru’s Levels race circuit today (Saturday 22 January).
Fastest in qualifying after early domination by Triple X Motorsport team-mate Daniel Gaunt in the MPD VnC Cocktails Porsche 997, Baird clocked the top spot late in the session to front the grid for the opening 12-lap race.
Achieving a perfect start, Baird romped away to leave Gaunt having to defend his position.
“There was a bit of a battle behind us with Daniel Gaunt and Jonny Reid so they made it much easier for me. We got a mega start for a change so it was just a matter of holding the start position advantage, which was helped by having a very very good Triple X prepared ZM Mad Butcher Porsche,” said Baird.
Bleak weather early in the weekend broke for this morning’s qualifying session; forecast drizzle was replaced with mild conditions and occasional sunshine. The conditions prevailed for the afternoon’s first of three races for the weekend, with the remaining Triple X cars left in Baird’s wake.
“I’ve got etched in my mind to defend for the rest of the series,” said Gaunt, who currently leads the standings by 103 points. “I really had no chance to attack Baird; defending was far more important. I’m looking at the bigger picture and protecting the buffer I have.”
Fifth, after putting in a solid effort to chase fourth spot, Whangarei’s Scott Harrison took the Mad Butcher Carpet One Porsche 997 to the chequered flag one spot ahead of team principal Shane McKillen in the VnC Cocktails Porsche 997.
Christchurch’s Paul Kelly finished ninth in the Paul Kelly Motor Company Porsche 997 with Auckland’s Michael Morton tenth in the Outlaws Bar Porsche 997.
Sunday’s two races conclude the South Island leg of the series, with a 12-lap race in the morning and the top-six reverse grid 16 lap racing starting at 2:55pm.