Triple X Motorsport has won the opening round of the 2009/10 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge at Pukekohe this weekend with race winner Craig Baird leading the five car team to secure three cars in the top three spots
Following a dramatic race win during the Mad Butcher 100 on Saturday afternoon, Baird secured a double during the Sunday morning 12-lap sprint race.
Starting from fifth position for the afternoon 16-lap top-six reverse grid race, Baird finished third behind Matt Halliday and Jonny Reid to lead his team to one-two-three in the championship standings.
“We had to look after our weekend points and series lead, to do anything else was not who we are,” said Baird after he climbed from the ZM Mad Butcher Porsche and straight in to his V8 Touring Car.
“Really as long as our top three cars came home in the top-six of the race we had the weekend and first round of the championship sewn up. We had a good buffer on everyone, but if we didn’t finish the afternoon race we’d be back with everyone else.”
Finishing behind Baird in all of the weekend races, Auckland based V8 Supercar driver Daniel Gaunt has a strong-hold on his championship placing behind the five-time defending champion Baird.
“I guess starting alongside Craig from the third row; it was always going to be a big ask to get ahead of the guys in front of us. But I think we picked off who we could and while I would have liked to get past Craig, you could see in the way I managed to detach his rear bumper, obviously not on purpose, we had a fast car for the race,” said the 24-year-old.
Third, well ahead of more internationally experienced drivers, 21-year-old business account manager Courtney Letica paid tribute to the Triple X Motorsport team and its experience in its third year of operation.
“This is exactly the reason I need to be with this team, I’m in a championship placing well ahead of my top-five plan,” he said. “With Craig and Daniel fighting for top positions I’m happy to tag along and learn while staying ahead of the opposition,” he said.
“A great start for the season; I’m very happy with the job the boys have done and couldn’t have asked for anything more. Having Jonny Reid and Matt Halliday next door has made the guys focus, lift their game and prove we are the team to beat this summer,” said team principal Shane McKillen, finishing the final race in seventh.
With three weeks until the next round of six in the season, the team have an island hopping journey to race the Big Ben 200 at Ruapuna near Christchurch (28-29 November).
Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge 2009/10 points (after round one of six) - top-ten
(Pos, car, driver, car type, town, points)
11 Craig Baird 997 Queensland 285
2 3 Daniel Gaunt 997 Auckland 255
3 5 Courtney Letica 997 Auckland 229
4 9 Jonny Reid 997 Auckland 224
5 96 Anthony Pedersen 997 Rotorua 197
6 21 Matt Halliday 997 USA 195
7 32 Mitch Cunningham 997 Auckland 159
8 82 Andrew Bagnall 997 Auckland 159
9 15 Hugh Gardiner 996 Auckland 133
10 90 Paul Kelly 997 Christchurch 116