Triple X Motorsport driver Craig Baird finished today’s 100 kilometre Mad Butcher Porsche race 0.3 of a second away from securing the 2009/10 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge title at Taupo.
The final of six rounds by the six car Auckland based team, Baird’s 182 point lead in the championship standings was reduced to 140 with two 75 point races left to run in the weekend.
Finishing fourth overall having spent an hour aboard a V8 touring car before the Porsche endurance race, Baird said the demands were unnecessary given what is at stake.
“To be fair I can’t believe the two sessions are back-to-back. I have to hurry between one car and getting in to the next so I don’t miss getting out on to the track before they close the pit lane,” said Baird having climbed from his right-hand-drive Ford to get in to the left-hand-drive Porsche before today’s race. “I’ve done two championships for two years and it’s not getting fairer. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to consider putting another race between them.”
With the race won by Jonny Reid, Triple X Motorsport’s Daniel Gaunt finished second having started from fourth in the Placemakers Hampsta Porsche 997.
“We got a great pit-stop by the boys which was the fastest of the race - that helped. But we started our tyre pressures slightly lower and just kept the car straight to focus on looking after the tyres,” said the 25-year-old Gaunt. Scalping Matt Halliday late in the pursuit, Gaunt has consolidated his third place in the standings ahead of tomorrow’s two races.
Bad luck befell Melbourne’s David Reynolds, whose pole in qualifying and early race lead evaporated in the pit-stop when a wheel nut jammed. The Indians bar Hampsta Porsche 997 then had to stop a second time for a flat left front tyre, dropping Reynolds to eighth.
Auckland’s Courtney Letica finished fifth in the Altherm Porsche 997 having started 13th when he broke a rear suspension arm in the morning qualifying. Team principal Shane McKillen finished seventh in the VnC Cocktails Juice bar Porsche 997 with Christchurch’s Paul Kelly ninth, driving the Paul Kelly Motors Porsche 997.
Concluding the summer race season; each of Sunday’s two races offer 75 points for the winner. The ten-lap race in the morning is followed mid-afternoon by the season ending 12 lap top-six reverse-grid. Baird needs to finish 21st or better to secure his sixth successive Porsche title.
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