Heading the 2010 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (PCCA) standings before this weekend’s double points race at the Shanghai International Circuit in China, New Zealand race driver Craig Baird had a nightmare run on wet tyres in what will be his final round of the series
Calendared to be the final round of the 2010 championship, Baird struggled with grip from recycled tyres in the wet qualifying conditions. He trailed pace-setter and defending champion Christian Menzel (Germany) by 1.924 seconds.
Tracking a shortened circuit of 4.603 kilometres, Baird and his Auckland based Triple X Motorsport crew had to settle for a starting position of fourth for the Saturday afternoon 11-lap race.
Again in wet weather, Baird fought conditions in the VnC Cocktails Porsche GT3 RS 997, ultimately dropping a position to finish fifth.
“We were out for a pasting,” said a dejected Baird. “And we got hosed.”
“It’s hard for all of us here, having been going so well and then be so far away.”
While stopping short of explaining the tyre and grip situation, the team managed different tyres for the Sunday finale. In drier conditions Baird snared two places early to finish third for the race. The net result drops the 40-year-old ex-pat Kiwi to second in the standings, from a four point lead to a nine point deficit.
Attempting to resolve the recent extension of the calendar season by organisers to move the final weekend to early November, Baird and his Triple X Motorsport team will instead concentrate on his New Zealand championships.
“We’ve done pretty well for a first season; it’s just a shame the Porsche spirit was lost and the calendar for the final weekend was suddenly changed without regard for other teams’, including our own.”
“Second was our best in the end – I just hope that doesn’t get taken away because we have to choose defending multiple championship titles in New Zealand the same weekend they decided to move the Asian final to.”
2010 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship points (after round 10) – top five
1, Christian Menzel, GER, 157
2, Craig Baird, NZL, 148
3, Marchy Lee, HKG, 134
4, Mok Weng Sun, SIN, 116
5, Rodolfo Avila, MAC, 107