Reigning champion Craig Baird has returned to the top of the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia podium with a clean sweep of race wins at Sydney Motorsport Park, with Shane Smollen taking a long-awaited Elite Class round win.
Following Saturday’s victory in wet conditions, Baird showed his speed on a drying circuit in Race 2, finishing ahead of championship contenders Steven Richards and Warren Luff.
Baird then maintained his Sydney stronghold in the final race, keeping Luff and Richards at bay to claim his third race win and secure his first Outright round win since last year’s Townsville round.
“I’m very happy. We had a really good car in the wet and we were strong in the damp race this morning. I think Luff showed his raw speed in the dry Race 3; I saw him coming and then he must have used up all his tyres a couple of laps from the finish because I got a little bit of a breather on the last few laps,” said Baird.
“It’s a nice result. Now we’ll go away and reset for the rest of the season.”
Behind Baird for the round was the now-sole championship leader Richards, with Luff taking the final position on the round podium.
Smollen was the dominant Elite Class driver on the Sunday races. The Sydneysider placed second behind Tony Bates in Saturday’s race before claiming class victory in both Sunday races.
Smollen, who was joined on the Elite Class podium by second-placed Bates and James Bergmuller, was pleased to maintain a strong performance throughout his home event.
“It was a great round to put it all together. I’ve had a great car all year but I haven’t been able to execute to the extent that I’d like to. Everything came together for this round and we managed to get a gap in both the dry races, which we maintained until the finish. It was one of those rare stress-free rounds,” said Smollen.
“We needed this result for our confidence and for team spirit. We still have a long way to catch up in the Elite Class but, regardless, we’re going to enjoy our racing and hopefully bring a few more wins home.”
Richards now holds a 12 point lead in the standings from Luff. Baird’s Sydney success places him only 44 points further behind in the Outright standings and 47 points further behind in the Professional Class.
Stephen Grove maintains the Elite Class lead from Bergmuller, Bates, Roger Lago and round winner Smollen in fifth.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will now feature at the three V8 Supercars endurance rounds at Sandown, Bathurst and Gold Coast for its final three events of the 2014 season.
Carrera Cup – Post-round Episode
Date: Saturday August 30, 2014
Time: 11:00am Sydney local time