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Fired-up Baird conquers the rain


Reigning champion wins first Battery Town GT3 race of the weekend at Manfeild.

Craig Baird had his dander up in the first Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge race at Manfeild yesterday, storming through from row two of the grid to win in a masterful display of wet weather driving.

Officials had relegated Baird from second to fourth starting spot after disallowing his qualifying time because he set it when the yellow caution flags were flying.

Baird charged straight to second behind Daniel Gaunt when pole-winner David Reynolds started slowly, and passed Gaunt with a daring side-by-side move through the Dunlop sweeper to take the lead on lap three.

Reynolds worked his way to second, but was thwarted by heavier and heavier rain as he tried to chase down Baird.

"Obviously, I got a real, real bad start, dropped back to fourth, disputed third with Ant Pedersen, slowly caught then got past Daniel then slowly caught Craig,” said the Australian.

"I tried to round (Baird) up but then I made a few mistakes and he got away.

“I caught him again but by then it was raining really hard, my windows started fogging up, I couldn't see where I was going and I was just glad to see the end of it to be honest."

Gaunt was slowed and eventually stopped with a puncture. Pedersen inherited third place ahead of a hard-charging Jody Vincent and closely-following Jono Lester.

Officials slapped Pedersen with a stop/go penalty, giving Vincent the final podium placing.

Results of Race 1 (12 laps)

1. Craig Baird 14m 53.450s.

2. David Reynolds, +9.354s.

3. Jody Vincent. +2.463s.

4. Jono Lester, +4.724s.

5. Mark Russ, +6.004s.

6. Rodney Forbes, +16.945s.

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