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Winning today's final race at the penultimate round of the 2010/2011 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge has allowed Triple X Motorsport driver Daniel Gaunt to keep his lead in the title chase. CREDIT: SportProMedia
Triple X Motorsport's Craig Baird took a comfortable win in the weekend's penultimate round of the 2010/2011 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge held at Manfeild to narrow the points gap to team-mate Daniel Gaunt. CREDIT: SportProMedia
After an anxious three-race weekend for the penultimate round of the 2010/2011 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, defending champion Craig Baird took the weekend win with Triple X team-mate Daniel Gaunt managing to hold a lead in the overall standings.
Winning two races and finishing fourth in today’s top-six reverse grid final, Baird in the ZM Mad Butcher Porsche 997 had a clean weekend by contrast to Gaunt in the MPD VnC Cocktails car.
Taken out of Saturday’s weekend opening race, Gaunt’s car was unable to be repaired to the exacting standard required to competently complete the weekend. Shuffled in to the VnC Cocktails car of team principal Shane McKillen, Gaunt finished fifth in the morning race before taking a class win in the final to hold a narrowed 25-point lead in the standings. Baird is now 38 points adrift.
“First of all I can’t thank Shane McKillen enough for the loan of his car, as this is his thing and what he enjoys doing so for him to step out is a big deal. Michael Morton came up with the best scenario for today and his mathematical mind gave us a plan that worked out – where we could start from the front row for the final race. But it’s a step in the right direction leading in to Taupo, after the disaster of not finishing yesterday’s race,” said Gaunt.
Technical director, Todd Bickerton and team manager, Ian McNabb could not say enough about the huge effort that all the team produced when faced with four cars needing serious attention after a first lap incident in race one: “The boys pulled together and worked through Saturday night to get these cars back on the grid for race two on Sunday, we had cars and parts all over the place, so we cannot thank these guys enough for their effort, simply awesome,” said McNabb.
Starting from sixth position in the final race, Baird said he was pushing, but had in mind ensuring he kept the weekend win: “I’m racing some pretty good guys who were ahead of me, so by the time I made moves to pass a couple I was behind enough to not really have the pace to pull back the gap to the others. So while I was pushing on to get up there I still had to finish to confirm the round win.”
“Now we go to the final round at Taupo with a modest gap in the points to Daniel and it’s a place I really like driving at - we’re back in the hunt anyway,” said Baird.
One point from the weekend podium, Hugh Gardiner was modestly animated at not being able to join team-mate Baird for the champagne spoils. Finishing fourth in the morning race, his second for the weekend, he could only manage a sixth in the final.
Whangarei’s Scott Harrison took a conservative approach to the two Sunday races in the Mad Butcher Carpet One Porsche 997 after sustaining significant and race-ending damage on the Saturday. Finishing seventh in both races, he drops one position in the points’ table to now place fifth.
Of the three cars culled from Saturday’s opening race, Palmerston North’s Ant Pedersen took the Outlaws Bar Porsche 997 to third this morning and followed Gaunt across the line in the final for second spot.
With three races left to decide the title champion, the Triple X Motorsport team have five weeks before the finale at Taupo’s international race circuit on 11-13 March.