Reigning champion Craig Baird will this weekend look to claim his first Porsche Carrera Cup Australia round win in 12 months as the championship completes its opening two practice session on Friday.
The New Zealander’s last Carrera Cup round win came at the North Queensland circuit in July last year, with the fastest lap time of Friday’s two practice sessions leaving him in a good position for a weekend of success in the sun.
Steven Richards set the pace in the opening Friday practice session from series leader Warren Luff, Baird, Shae Davies and Nick Foster.
Baird showed greater pace in the second session to post the fastest time of the day of 1:14.3552, 0.14secs from Michael Patrizi, Luff, Davies and Richards.
Patrizi’s pace highlights his team’s strong effort to get his Porsche re-built following a high speed impact with the tyre barrier at the last Carrera Cup round at Phillip Island.
Baird was pleased with his Friday pace and suggests he has nothing to lose on the cusp of the season’s half-way mark.
“We had a good round here last year and it’s not as if we haven’t won here before. We’re still not 100 per cent where we want to be set-up wise but we’ve just got to look forward; it’s a long way to go between now and the end of the championship. It’s all about scoring points, finishing and getting on the top step of the podium. We have nothing to lose,” said Baird.
Shane Smollen topped the opening two practice sessions in the Elite Class from Stephen Grove and Marc Cini, only 1.5secs adrift the outright fastest lap.
While Smollen has claimed pole position in Townsville for the past two seasons, though the Sydneysider is yet to take the round victory.
“We elected not to put our best rubber on in that last session and we still made some gains, so I’m happy with that,” said Smollen.
“We just have to continue this into qualifying and into the races, but it’s nice to get a solid Day 1 out of the way.”
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will hold its sole Townsville qualifying session on Saturday morning followed by Race 1 at 11:00am. Race 2 and Race 3 will then be held before noon on Sunday.
Race 1 and Race 3 will be broadcast on 7mate on Saturday and Sunday, respectively (broadcast schedule below).
Saturday July 05, 2014
7:45am Qualifying 20 minutes
11:00am Race 1 17 laps
Sunday July 06, 2014
8:50am Race 2 17 laps
11:30am Race 3 17 laps
Carrera Cup – Race 1 (delayed)
Date: Saturday July 05, 2014
Time: 12:30pm AEST (12:00pm, SA/NT; 10:30am, WA)
Carrera Cup – Race 3 (delayed)
Date: Sunday July 06, 2014
Time: 12:45pm AEST (12:15pm, SA/NT; 10:45am, WA)