Defending V8s champion Craig Baird, driving the United Video Ford Falcon, won today’s first of three races at Christchurch’s Ruapuna raceway to have a brief hold on the overall series lead.
The second of seven rounds for the 2010/2011 championship season, Baird started the weekend in second place – one point from the lead. Qualifying fourth fastest in the Saturday top-ten shoot-out, Baird quickly moved to head the series in Sunday morning’s first race. Finishing second at the chequered flag, the Gold Coast based Kiwi then inherited the win post the chequered flag when the leading car was penalised for a jump-start.
From the coveted pole position for the second raced held early in the afternoon, Baird struggled for power in the sweltering conditions, to have to relinquish the advantage by the first turn. As much as he favours the 3.33 kilometre circuit for its technical nature, Baird dropped three positions during the course of the ten-lap race, to finish fourth.
“It was a real disappointment in some ways. We’d just come from a sombre minutes silence in remembrance of the Pikes River coal miners and everything was in place for another solid result. But again life reminds us you can’t take anything for granted,” said Baird after the weekend’s second ten-lap race.
Out of 17th position for the 20-lap full-reverse grid race late in the afternoon, Baird had a long look at the line of cars ahead as they filed in to turn-one. Half poised to react and avoid incidents, Baird was also planning and picking opportunities to move the #1 United Video Ford up the field. Quietly moving ahead, Baird was up to fifth in the dying laps before an impact damaged the car’s handling. Baird finished sixth.
“We copped a slow car and bent the steering. I was making good head-way and on my way to third for the race, but just had to lay down unfortunately.”
“It was alright,” said Baird retrospectively. We weren’t quite as quick as we wanted to be, but third for the weekend is still good. You always want to finish on top of the podium, but it’s still a good result.”
“The three of us are within ten points – and it’s a long way to go in the championship yet,” Baird mused.
With 75 points on offer for a race win, Baird’s next opportunity at defending his V8 title comes early in the New Year when the Auckland based team travel to Invercargill. Set at Teretonga’s Sandy Point, the circuit is as unique as any other in New Zealand and its mid-January date is the first of two successive rounds in the South Island.
“Returning to Invercargill during the summer brings back plenty of memories of the early years of fun in the southern sun.”
The United Video Racing team would like to acknowledge the support from United Video, TRN Radio Hauraki, LeasePlan, WD 40, Redline Signwriters, Marsh Motorsport, Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry, Performance Friction Brakes, Koni, Fusion, GER, Classic Car Cover Insurance, Dunlop, PWR Eastern Automotive, VnC Cocktails and the Mad Butcher.
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BNT V8s championship points after round two (of seven) – top-five.
Pos Car No. Name Car Hometown Total
1, 6, Angus Fogg, Falcon, Auckland, 353
2, 47, John McIntyre, Falcon, Nelson, 346
3, 1, Craig Baird, United Video Falcon, Gold Coast, 343
4, 99, Kayne Scott, Falcon, Hamilton, 263
5, 5, Andy Knight, Falcon, Christchurch, 259
2010/2011 BNT V8s championship calendar
Round Date Venue Inviting Club
1 5-7 November 2010 Pukekohe NZIGP Inc
2 26-28 November 2010 Ruapuna Canterbury Car Club Inc
3 14-16 January 2011 Teretonga Southland Sports Car Club Inc
4 21-23 January 2011 Levels South Canterbury Car Club Inc
5 11-13 February 2011 Manfeild Manawatu Car Club Inc
6 11-13 March 2011 Taupo Taupo Car Club
7 15-17 April 2011 Hamilton MotorSport NZ