Leading New Zealand race car driver Craig Baird is still in awe after taking the series lead in the 2010 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (PCCA) at what was initially the penultimate round in Singapore two weeks ago
Winning two from two races on the streets of Marina Bay as a support class to the Formula One race, Baird’s table topping position has the 40-year-old Gold Coast based Kiwi elated at the team’s performance in its first year offshore.
Driving the #32 VnC Cocktails Porsche 997, the car was decked out in SC Global livery in a one-round deal with the Singapore corporate that saw Baird take his first ever win in the Asian series.
“We’ve got a recipe that’s worked for many years and relies on key individuals like Triple X Motorsport’s Todd and Ian plus Shane from VnC Cocktails. We all know what each other is thinking – so things get done and it makes life easier at being championship leaders,” said Baird, who has a four-point lead in a field of 29 international drivers.
The team’s first season in the Asian championship, Baird says the learning curve that sees them at the front doesn’t truly illustrate how tough the series is.
“You’ve got to remember we’re against the likes of defending champion Christian Menzel (Germany), who’s racing Porsche’s every weekend somewhere in Europe. His engineer is involved in the Porsche Supercup series and together they have done a lot of testing with the car and tyre combination used in the Asia championship.”
“Menzel finished fourth in his first year – where we’ve been second most of the season and now taken the series lead - putting it in to perspective.”
“We have to work smarter at beating their working harder – particularly at learning the brand new car and race circuits I’ve never seen before. As team we’ve moved forward – and will keep doing what we’re doing; especially now we’ve really started to take it to them.”
With the Singapore event the only circuit on the series Baird has contested before, he says it made a big difference to his chances given the unknown state of the car following significant damage repairs since he last drove it.
“It was a massive advantage having raced at the Singapore street circuit before – but that’s what the rest of the field is used to, whereas we’re still learning our way.”
Attention now turns to the addition of another round to the 2010 calendar – pushing the final date out to clash with the start of New Zealand’s summer series. Initially with one event left to contest for the season, Baird says there is a real dilemma ahead: “We have to weigh up trying to secure the PCCA title or focus more on the un-broken title streak in New Zealand – which is complicated by our backers being New Zealand businesses.
In-between, Baird’s next event is the Asian Festival of Speed at the Guangdong International circuit in China, 22 – 24 October.
2010 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship points (after round 8 of 10) – top five
1, Craig Baird, NZL, 120
2, Christian Menzel, GER, 116
3, Marchy Lee, HKG, 106
4, Mok Weng Sun, SIN, 96
5, Rodolfo Avila, MAC, 79
PCCA round 7 results - top ten
1, Craig BAIRD (NZL), SC Global Racing (SIN), 29:12.272
2, Darryl O’YOUNG (HKG), LKM Racing (HKG), +0.347
3, Marchy LEE (HKG), Red Bull Racing (HKG), +14.758
4, Rodolfo AVILA (MAC), Team Jebsen (HKG), +29.288
5, MOK Weng Sun (SIN), Team PCS Racing (SIN), +46.602
6, Ringo CHONG (SIN), Team Kangshun (CHN), +46.983
7, Philip MA (HKG), Jacob & Co Racing (HKG), +1:31.427
8, Jean Marc MERLIN (FRA), Team J2M Racing (FRA), +1:38.769
9, Wayne SHEN (HKG), Modena Motorsports (HKG), +1.46.963
10, Jeffrey LEE (TPE), Team Pauian Archiland (TPE), +1:48.150
PCCA round 8 results - top ten
1, Craig BAIRD (NZL),SC Global Racing (SIN), 28:49.024
2, Marchy LEE (HKG),Red Bull Racing (HKG), +2.251
3, Darryl O’YOUNG (HKG),LKM Racing (HKG), +3.114
4, Christian MENZEL (GER), Team StarChase (CHN), +11.078
5, Rodolfo AVILA (MAC), Team Jebsen (HKG), +21.138
6, MOK Weng Sun (SIN), Team PCS Racing (SIN), +53.741
7, Ringo CHONG (SIN), Team Kangshun (CHN), +56.339
8, Jeffrey LEE (TPE), Team Pauian Archiland (TPE), +58.901
9, Francis TJIA (HKG), OpenRoad Racing (HKG), +60.456
10, Philip MA (HKG), Jacob & Co Racing (HKG), +61.854