No Baird feel­ings

Cup leader dou­bles up

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motor Sport -

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.

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