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Baird a five-time winner of GT3 series

 

Queensland-based Kiwi, Craig Baird, wrapped up his fifth consecutive New Zealand Porsche GT3 Cup title at Pukekohe last Sunday

In his charge to the 2008/2009 Battery Town GT3 Challenge Cup, Baird won 12 of the 18 races.

Fellow former Australian GT3 Carrera Cup title-holder, David Reynolds, provided his main challenge this season, winning five races and tying three-all with Baird for fastest qualifier in the six-round series. Baird won the now-defunct Australian series twice.
 
Young Kiwi, Jono Lester, was the series’ only other race winner, though the hard-charging Jody Vincent (yellow car pictured) only missed winning last Sunday’s reverse grid race when his Porsche picked up a puncture and a surprised Baird passed him on the run to the chequer.
 
"It's been tough this year but, you know, it's always been tough,” Baird said after taking the 2008/2009 crown.

“There's always been a Jim (Richards) or a Matty (Matt Halliday) or Fabian (Coulthard) and this year it's been David Reynolds.

“He's had a little bit more speed than me in some places this year and he's very, very good at qualifying, so I've had to be on the top of my game every time I've gone out on the track.”

Though Reynolds took the Pukekohe pole last weekend, Baird got better starts to lead both 12-lap sprint races from start to finish. 

Reynolds pushed hard to catch Baird and in race two set a new GT3 lap record of 57.279 seconds.
 
Lester was a quick and competitive third in race one but collided with NZ Grand Prix winner, Daniel Gaunt, in the second.

Gaunt recovered to finish third and then second in the final, giving him second overall behind Baird for the round.
 
After Vincent’s tyre blew almost within sight of the flag in race three, he said he was “lucky to keep it off the wall so I'm just glad I still have a car in one piece.”

He came home second, ahead of Gaunt. Ant Pedersen was fourth in that race and third for the round.

Gaunt won the Rookie of the Year title and Aucklander, Hugh Gardiner, took the series-within-a-series for older 996 model GT3s.
 
Pukekohe Porsche GT3 results.
 
Race 1: 1. Craig Baird, 11m 38.476s; 2. David Reynolds, +0.657s; 3. Jono Lester, +2.725s; 4. Daniel Gaunt, +7.790s; 5. Courtney Letica, +10.258s; 6. Ant Pedersen, +13.354s.
 
Race 2: 1. Craig Baird, 11m 35.790s;s2. David Reynolds, +0.332s; 3. Daniel Gaunt, +6.817s; 4. Ant Pedersen, +8.023s; 5. Mark Russ, +9.139s; 6. Darryn Henderson, +18.229s.
 
Race 3 (reverse top six grid): 1. Craig Baird, 15m 40.968s; 2. Jody Vincent, +0.188s; 3. Daniel Gaunt, +1.676s; 4. Ant Pedersen, +7.185a; 5. Jono Lester, +8.438s; 6. Mark Russ, +10.972s.
 
Final championship points: Craig Baird, 1295; David Reynolds, 1112; Daniel Gaunt, 935; Jono Lester, 821; Rodney Forbes, 747; Jody Vincent, 747; Ant Pedersen, 739; Darryn Henderson, 690; Mark Russ, 669; Shane McKillen, 626.

 


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