Rain robs gutsy Baird of likely Bathurst win

| Photographer Credit: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia

Rain has played havoc on Porsche Carrera Cup Australia’s race two at Mount Panorama, with a sudden heavy downpour forcing officials to abandon the race.

Storm clouds loomed as the Porsche field began the warm up lap, though all teams elected to remain on Michelin slick tyres on the then-dry Bathurst surface.

The race started under safety car conditions for safety reasons as light rain began to fall, prompting several drivers to change to Michelin wet tyres, including Craig Baird, the sole front-runner to do so.

As conditions worsened several runners still on slicks spun behind the safety car.

The conditions were then deemed too dangerous to continue; the race was abandoned and no points were allocated for Saturday.

The result was frustrating for Baird, who was well placed after his early decision to change to wet tyres.

“It was too wet for me to carry on so I decided to come in and change to wets, which was obviously the right call,” said Baird.

“I think I’ve done 21 Bathurst races and it’s pretty simple; when it’s that wet on top of the mountain, you may as well pull in and do your tyre stop early. It’s disappointing the race was declared as we were in a great position with the early call, but it is what it is.”

Another driver to make the early change to wet tyres was debutant Brenton Griguol; the newcomer facing some unique challenges in his first ever Carrera Cup event.

“On the warm up lap I was coming down Conrod Straight on hard lock, the car was heading toward the wall and I said ‘Oh, dear!’… or something similar,” said Griguol, who managed to avoid carnage in the tough conditions.

“It was just so, so wet. At the end of the day, the best call was made for the safety of all competitors, whether you’re a Professional or a Challenge driver.”

The Bathurst round for Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will be reduced to two races; with the final race for the weekend scheduled for 9:25am on Sunday morning, the final on-track event before V8 Supercars’ Bathurst 1000.

Race 3

Campbell takes dream first win at ‘The Mountain’

Matt Campbell’s motor racing dream came true at Bathurst this morning when the 20-year-old Queenslander claimed his first outright round victory in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, while Tony Bates secured his second straight TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge event win at Mount Panorama.

Campbell had strong pace across the weekend, taking pole position before finishing a close second to David Russell in race one, losing the lead due to a mid-race driving error. He made no such mistake in race three though; moving into the lead on lap three before consecutive lap records increased his gap to the competition.

Following Russell’s race one win and race two’s cancellation due to heavy rain, Campbell secured race three victory, which placed the two drivers level on round points, though Campbell’s higher placing in the final race handed him his maiden round win.

“It’s great to get my first round win, especially at Bathurst. I was pretty disappointed after making the mistake in the first race, which cost me the race lead. This is definitely a dream come true; I couldn’t have asked for a better place to win my first round,” said Campbell.

Russell finished second from the championship’s leading duo – Steven Richards, Nick Foster – and Craig Baird in fifth.

Bates was the race winner in the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge, which also handed him the class round win.

Bates and Shane Smollen battled throughout the 10 lap race, with Bates taking the class lead from Smollen on lap six – a move which cost Bates 10 championship points. Bates went on to win the final race from Smollen and Stephen Grove, which is the same order the trio finished for the round.

Returning Porsche racer Tony Walls placed fourth in class for the race, followed by the exciting battlepack of Scott Taylor, Ash Samadi, James Bergmuller, Marc Cini and Adrian Mastonardo in the challenge for fifth in class. Newcomer Brenton Griguol failed to finish the final Porsche race of the weekend.

Two weeks now remain in the 2015 Carrera Cup season. Foster retains an 18.5 point lead in the standings from Richards. Russell has now moved into third in the standings, 82 points from Foster, with Baird two points further behind in fourth.

Smollen has strengthened his TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge lead at Bathurst. The Sydneysider now leads Grove by 47 points with Bates a further 187.5 points further adrift in third.

Porsche Carrera Cup Australia has one round remaining for the season, to be held at Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, on October 23-25, 2015.

Race 3 Results
1. #7 Matt Campbell (Professional) Phase 8/Nuveau Constructions 10 laps, 21:24.9855s
2. #10 David Russell (Professional) Finance Ezi 10 laps, 21:26.5130s
3. #1 Steven Richards (Professional) Laser Plumbing & Electrical 10 laps, 21:27.6265s
4. #777 Nick Foster (Professional) Bob Jane T-Marts 10 laps, 21:28.0440s
5. #8 Craig Baird (Professional) Winsor Smith 10 laps, 21:28.3889s
6. #77 Nick McBride (Professional) Bob Jane T-Marts 10 laps, 21:34.2716s
7. #22 Richard Muscat (Professional) Wilson Security/PAYCE 10 laps, 21:40.0039s
8. #25 John Martin (Professional) Copyworld/OPS Gateway 10 laps, 21:42.0148s
9. #45 Duvashen Padayachee (Professional) Darrell Lea STIX 10 laps, 21:46.7133s
10. #65 Fraser Ross (Professional) Porsche Centre Brighton 10 laps, 21:59.4059s
11. #26 Michael Almond (Professional) Copyworld/Toshiba 10 laps, 21:59.5540s
12. #24 Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) AFS/Fleetguard 10 laps, 22:18.2108s
13. #56 Shane Smollen (Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents 10 laps, 22:18.7582s
14. #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Group 10 laps, 22:19.2317s
15. #5 Tony Walls (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Objective Racing 10 laps, 22:22.2311s
16. #222 Scott Taylor (Carrera Challenge) Scott Taylor Motorsport 10 laps, 22:35.7230s
17. #6 Ash Samadi (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Apartment Hotel 10 laps, 22:36.0676s
18. #13 James Bergmuller (Carrera Challenge) MotorOne Car Care 10 laps, 22:36.3214s
19. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc 10 laps, 22:37.5888s
20. #39 Adrian Mastronardo (Carrera Challenge) Veritas/Builtform 10 laps, 22:40.7679s
DNF #69 Brenton Griguol (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Koala Car Rentals

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