SUPPORTS: Craig Baird tops times in Carrera Cup

Craig Baird

Craig Baird

Reigning Porsche City Index Carrera Cup champion Craig Baird has topped the times in the opening practice sessions for the 2012 season.

The Kiwi Porsche legend finished marginally in front of Porsche returnee Alex Davison, who lapped just 0.16s behind Baird in his McElrea Racing machine.

Behind the leading duo in the times were Daniel Gaunt, Steven Richards, Nick Foster, Tom Tweedie and Matt Kingsley, while James Koundouris held the eighth quickest time and the best of the Elite Class drivers.

Baird posted his fastest lap on his final lap of the day, pipping Davison at the top of the timesheets. However, Davison believes there is more pace to come.

“In order to improve I had to continue to adapt to the car today,” Davison said.

“I held a steady pace in the first session in order to get my technique right and I made a big improvement in the second session. Baird just pipped us on the final lap but there’s still some time to gain; I didn’t get my best sectors together and was still playing with my driving style, trying to find out what works best.”

Foster was the only Carrera Cup driver to be involved in an incident after his throttle stuck open at Turn 5 in the first practice session. His car was repaired for session two.

Qualifying for Carrera Cup will be held 12.55pm tomorrow, followed by a 7.45pm evening race.

In the Aussie Racing Cars, Kyle Clews qualified on pole for the first round of the season, edging out reigning champ Adrian Cottrell. Peter Carr, Tyler Owen, Simon Smith, maurice Masini, Mark Clements, Darren Chamberlin, Trent Young and Justin Ruggier round of the top 10.

The V8 Utes also held its qualifying session, with David Sieders taking the Armor All pole award. The Ford driver completed just six laps on his way to a comfortable 0.44s pole, beating Jack Elsegood (Ford), Ryal Harris (Ford), reigning champ Chris Pither (Holden), Nathan Pretty (Holden), Kris Walton (Ford), Andrew Fisher (Ford), Rhys McNally (Holden), Cameron McConville (Holden) and Auto One wildcat entrant Warren Luff (Holden).

In the Touring Car Masters, reigning Champ John Bowe (Ford Mustang) will start tomorrow’s first race from pole after dominating the session. he will start ahead of Andrew Miedecke (Chev Camero), Gavin Bullas (Boss Mustang), Jim Richards (AMC Javelin) and Mark King (Holden HQ).

In Australian GT, Allan Simonsen took the Ferrari 458 to the top of the times in the second practice session. The Dane will co-drive with Peter Edwards. In the first GT practice session, Tony Quinn endured a big accident in his Ferrari. CLICK HERE for more.

The Formula 3 class saw two practice sessions held, with Astuti Motorsport’s Matthew Sofi topping both sessions in his Dallara F307/Mugen.

The Clipsal 500 organisers released a crowd figure today of 40,700.

The V8 Supercars Championship cars will hit the track tomorrow with four practice sessions, qualifying and the top 10 shootout.

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