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Baird takes solid win in bizarre race

 

Changing weather caused mayhem at the start of the BNT NZ V8s second race at Teretonga, with several drivers trapped in the pits, still changing to wet weather tyres. They had to start from pitlane.

Porsche GT3 champion, Craig Baird, took his second win in the 2008/2009 BNT NZ V8s series when he steered the United Video Ford Falcon to victory in race two of the Teretonga round today.

Changeable weather at the Southland track caused a curious chain of events that saw only nine cars start from the grid. The others were forced to start in Indian file from the pits after being caught still changing tyres when officials closed the pit exit lane.

Baird’s team, run by his father-in-law, Garry Pedersen, had managed to change the car on to treaded wet weather tyres before the pit lane exit closed. Some others who made it to the grid opted to stay on slick dry weather tyres. The rest were still in the pits changing to wets when the lane closed.

There was one winner among the pitlane starters, though, the ultra-quick Tim Edgell in the Chesters Ford. His father, Randall, made the call to change to wets quite early. “Even though we missed the pit exit closure, we lined up at the front of the queue, which effectively allowed us to move from 15th on the grid to come out on to the circuit in 10th,” said Tim.

Baird controlled the race, winning by 14 seconds from Andy Booth (Big Ben Pies Holden Commodore) who produced a brilliant drive after starting from pitlane.

Booth would have started from pole, but “we changed to wets and were caught by the pit closure.” He was less than happy about the way officials handled the issue. “We believe the whole race should have been declared wet so everyone would have been on wets.

“Having said that, we were very pleased to have started from pit lane and finished as well as we did. This closes the points’ gap up to (reigning champion John) McIntyre and (series points leader Kayne) Scott.”

With Baird on the grid were Paul Manuell (Orix Commodore), Inky Tulloch (Falcon), Chris Adams (Commodore), Eddie Bell (Falcon), Angus Fogg (LG Falcon), Dale Williams (Ford), Andrew Porter (Hyundai-Hydraulink Ford) and Mack Peach (Falcon).

Manuell and Fogg were on slicks, and Manuell slipped back through the field on the very wet circuit, allowing Tulloch and Adams through.

Baird began lapping the slower competitors mid-race as Booth and Paul Pedersen (Falcon) continued to pick up places, as did McIntyre (Ford) who drove from the back of the pack to finish seventh.

As the circuit dried, Manuell and Fogg came back at the others whose wet weather tyres started to overheat and lose grip. Manuell set the fastest lap, 64.852 seconds.

Tulloch finished third behind Booth, followed by Pedersen, Edgell, Manuell, McIntyre, Adams, Michael Bristow and Fogg. Scott finished 11th and retained the championship lead.

Results of Race Two.

1. Craig Baird, Australia, Ford Falcon.

2. Andy Booth, Auckland, Holden Commodore.

3. Inky Tulloch, Gore, Ford Falcon.

4. Paul Pedersen, Taupo, Ford Falcon.

5. Tim Edgell, Auckland, Ford Falcon.

6. Paul Manuell, Auckland, Holden Commodore.


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