No Baird feelings
Cup leader doubles up
Not even his closest rival can begrudge Craig Baird his success, writes STEPHEN OTTLEY
ADRIVE with the Holden Racing Team will not distract Craig Baird from winning this year’s Carrera Cup. The New Zealander will be doing double duty this weekend at Phillip Island, racing in the V8 Supercar endurance race with HRT and the Porsche series.
But his title rival doesn’t see the increased workload having an effect on Baird’s speed and commitment in the Porsches.
‘‘Even though Bairdo’s doing double duty, it doesn’t affect him,’’ says Dean Fiore, who is coming second in the championship.
‘‘I wish it would but it doesn’t. He did it at Queensland, where he raced in the Fujistu V8 series as well, but he still won.
‘‘But you can’t be worried about what other people are doing. You just have to do your own thing.’’
Fiore is 252 points behind Baird with three rounds left in the series.
He knows the odds are stacked against him making a serious run at denying Baird a second Carrera Cup title.
‘‘He has to have at least one bad round if I’m going to have any chance of catching him,’’ Fiore says.
Instead of worrying about points, Fiore says he is concentrating on scoring as many wins as he can and learning what he can from his more experienced rival.
‘‘It’s been great racing with him,’’ he says. ‘‘I just wish I could beat him.
‘‘Nobody has run as close to Bairdo as I have this year. I have six second-place finishes this year, which sucks, but it’s been good racing against him.’’
Fiore has led the charge of a new generation of young racers in this year’s Carrera Cup.
David Russell, Bryce Washington, David Wall, James Moffat and Aaron Caratti are placed third through seventh in the points and have all driven well this season.
With that sort of depth, Fiore says starting at the pointy end of the grid is crucial to having any hope of a strong result this weekend.
‘‘Qualifying is the key,’’ he says. ‘‘You have to qualify on the first two rows. That sets you up for the weekend.’’
Familiar scene: Craig Baird leads Dean Fiore in a Carrera Cup race earlier this year.