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Baird stands down from Falcon drive

 

Craig Baird has withdrawn from the 2006/2007 NZ V8 championship, saying an existing agreement has precluded his driving the Hydraulink Ford Falcon.

Craig Baird has withdrawn from the 2006/2007 NZ V8 championship, saying an existing agreement has precluded his driving the Hydraulink Ford Falcon.
Eearlier, the Hydraulink Racing Team, had announced that Baird would drive the Falcon, replacing John McIntyre who has left to form his own race team.

Baird said the existing agreement - which includes ties to a driver traing programme - had take precedent over his plans to contest the NZ V8 series.

“I’m very disappointed I can’t do it," Baird said this week. "It was something I was really looking forward to; but the decision had to be made. I have commitments I really have no choice but to keep."

Baird has dominated Australian V8 Supercar driver David Besnard to replace him in the Falcon.

Besnard (29) grabbed the chance to compete in the New Zealand series which will have at least four Aussies racing in it. Besnard has contested 61 V8 Supercar races since starting in 2001; winning a round of the V8 Supercar series in 2002.

Besnard said he believes he has a realistic chance of winning races. “I’m really excited about it, to get out and race with a top-notch New Zealand team and get back to my winning ways."

Baird said he will still be with the Hydraulink team during the racing: “I suggested David Besnard as my replacement and couldn’t think of a better driver – you just have to look at his CV, it's very similar to mine. And I’ll be there to help him learn the tracks. We’re good mates; we’ve been in the same team before and worked together before – so I felt he was the man to do my job.”

Hydraulink team manager Greg Bellingham said: "Bairdo has had to make an unenviable decision. I really respect the way he’s handled this...not only assisting us in finding a substitute (but) vowing to help the team out.”


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