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Auckland's Triple X Motorsport secured their third successive Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge title with driver Craig Baird taking the Mad Butcher ZM Porsche 997 finishing XXth in the final race of the 2009/10 summer race season at Taupo today. CREDIT: SportProMedia
Victory returns to the hands of ex-pat Kiwi Craig Baird, congratulated by his Triple X Motorsport technical director Todd Bickerton, when he won the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge title at the seasons final round held at Taupo in the weekend. CREDIT: Lance Hastie
Relief over elation: Triple X Motorsport Porsche driver won his 24th New Zealand championship title at Taupo today when he scored enough points for the 2009/10 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge CREDIT: Lance Hastie
Melbourne's David Reynolds weekend of woe was helped with a third in the final race of the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge at Taupo in the weekend. CREDIT: Lance Hastie
Triple X Motorsport driver Daniel Gaunt's finished second the final round of the 2009/10 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge at Taupo to secure his third overall for the championshpi season. CREDIT: Lance Hastie
A win in the final race of the 2009/10 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge cemented Triple X Motorsport’s third consecutive championship victory with Craig Baird securing an unprecedented sixth title at Taupo this weekend.
The 39-year-old’s 24th New Zealand title, Baird extended his all-time streak to 25 when he also won the V8 touring car title as well, at the final round of the summer race season.
Consolidating his points lead in the Sunday morning race with a third placing, Baird in the Mad Butcher ZM Porsche 997 started the season finale from the front row alongside Triple X Motorsport team-mate David Reynolds.
“I told the team early I wanted to go out and annihilate everyone,” said an animated Baird of his plan for the season.
“Today I had to consolidate the championship and is maybe half a reason why I’ve won so many is I think about how I’m going to do it. I think today proves the point, winning the championship by a big margin came first, then I could go all out for the final. And the very reason why was the people behind me – the Triple X Motorsport team, my family and supporters that have got me the very best so I can be the best.”
Driving the Indians bar Hampsta Porsche 997, Reynolds lost out in the drag to the first turn when Baird capitalised on the more favoured outside run to the tightening left-hand corner. Crossing the line third put the Melbourne based driver just out of reach of the weekend podium, having punctured early in this morning’s second race.
Finishing between the pair, 25-year-old Daniel Gaunt secured his third overall in the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge standings by finishing the final race second in the Placemakers Hampsta Porsche 997.
“I had a lot of help from my friends – my Triple X Motorsport team-mates,” said the Auckland based driver. “They have been great all year, working together as a team we’ve secured first and third in the championship, which is another great result.”
“We had a plan for that final race – and it came off. The team came through with a great car and while our opposition came on strong toward the end of the season I’m proud of our results.”
Consistency also rewarded team principal Shane McKillen, finishing sixth and seventh for the day, the VnC Cocktails Juice bar Porsche 997 driver paid tribute to his front-runners:
“It’s a team effort and we work hard on fostering that spirit, we all work together to deliver the results – from our engineers, drivers, right through to our business partners. Certainly this weekend has been rewarding for me as a driver, but seeing the guys up front battling with opposition and coming through is a just reward for everyone’s efforts.”
Auckland junior Courtney Letica driving the Altherm Porsche 997 made a great recovery from his earlier woes to finish just ahead of his team boss in the final. Christchurch’s Paul Kelly didn’t start the final race, deciding a suspected gearbox noise in the Paul Kelly Motor Company Porsche 997 wasn’t worth risking a potential failure.
Confirming Baird and Gaunt’s first and third in the championship will take place Sunday evening with an informal prizegiving in Taupo.
The team now focus on Baird contesting his inaugural season in the Carrera Cup Asia series, having set fastest time in testing for the 2010 season in Malaysia recently, with the first round being contested 16-18 April.
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Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge points after round six (of six) – top-ten
1, Craig Baird, Triple X, Queensland, 1415
2, Jonny Reid, Auckland, 1269
3, Daniel Gaunt, Triple X, Auckland, 1236
4, Matt Halliday, USA, 1213
5, David Reynolds, Triple X, Melbourne, 1076
6, Courtney Letica, Triple X, Auckland, 835
7, Mitch Cunningham, Auckland, 797
8, Shane McKillen, Triple X, Auckland, 791
9, Hugh Gardiner, Auckland, 693
10, Andrew Bagnall, Auckland, 642