Baird claims Albert Park Aus GT opener
Craig Baird emerged victorious in the first of four Australian GT Championship races at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
The Scott Taylor Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT3 driver crossed the finish line second on the road behind pole sitter Christopher Mies, but was awarded victory once driver handicap times were added.
Instead of the usual timed compulsory pit stop system, the times were added to each driver at the end of the race.
Baird’s compulsory added time was four seconds less than Mies’ which saw him take the win by 5.5 seconds.
Marcus Marshall brought the Supabarn Supermarkets Audi R8 in a distant third to complete the podium.
Mies made no mistakes at the start with the reigning Australian GT champion fending off the Tekno Autosports’ McLaren of Jonathon Webb on the run down to Turn 1.
A strong start from Baird saw the Mercedes pilot slot into second as Webb began to struggle for pace, resulting in the McLaren dropping down the order.
Once Baird slipped through Webb was compromised which saw Marshall jump into third, while Dean Canto (Lamborghini), and Andrea Montermini, driving the new Ferrari 488 GT3 followed suit.
At the front Mies and Baird quickly opened up a sizeable gap on the chasing pack with the pair locked in a battle for the lead.
In the end, Baird was unable to find a way by settling for second which was enough to take the win once the handicaps were applied.
After starting from ninth on the grid following a qualifying exclusion, Montermini brought the Vicious Rumour Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 home in fourth.
The Matt Stone Racing Aston Martin Vantage of George Miedecke finished fifth ahead of Glen Wood (Lamborghini), Cam McConville (Ferrari) and Roger Lago (Lamborghini).
Dean Canto had crossed the line in fourth but his handicap penalty dropped him to ninth as Nathan Morcom (McLaren) rounded out the top 10.
Tony D’Alberto produced an impressive drive to pass half the field from the back of the grid to finish in 16th position.
Meanwhile, Steven Richards was forced to retire the SRM BMW M6 GT3 on the opening lap.
The Australian GT Championship will return to action on Friday for Race 2 from 1125 local time.
Result: Australian GT Championship Race 1, Albert Park
|1||Scott Taylor Motorsport||Craig Baird (NZ)||Mercedes Benz AMG GT||11||21:40.2790|
|2||JAMEC PEM Racing||Christopher Mies (Ger)||Audi R8 LMS||11||21:45.8273|
|3||Supabarn Supermarkets||Marcus Marshall||Audi R8 LMS||11||21:51.2790|
|4||DeFelice Homes||Andrea Montermini (ITA)||Ferrari 488 GT3||11||21:53.6168|
|5||Miedecke Motor group||George Miedecke (QLD)||Aston Martin Vantage||11||22:01.4353|
|6||Interlloy M Motorsport||Glen Wood||Lamborghini R-EX||11||22:01.9272|
|7||Maranello Motorsport||Cameron McConville (VIC)||Ferrari 458 GT3||11||22:02.5652|
|8||JBS Australia||Roger Lago (QLD)||Lamborghini R-EX||11||22:02.7689|
|9||Taplin Real Estate||Dean Canto (SA)||Lamborghini Gallardo||11||22:05.7099|
|10||Tekno||Nathan Morcom||McLaren 650S GT3||11||22:05.7590|
|11||Waltec Motorsport||John Martin||Porsche 997 GT3-R||11||22:06.0689|
|12||Eggleston Motorsport||Matthew Solomon||Mercedes Benz AMG GT||11||22:06.3354|
|13||Darrell Lea||Klark Quinn (QLD)||McLaren 650S GT3||11||22:07.1417|
|14||Darrell Lea||Tony Quinn (QLD)||Aston Martin Vantage||11||22:09.0448|
|15||SLR Tekno||Nathan Antunes (NSW)||McLaren 650S GT3||11||22:11.3901|
|16||Maranello Motorsport||Tony D’Alberto (VIC)||Ferrari 488 GT3||11||22:13.5360|
|17||Modena Engineering||Ricky Capo (VIC)||BMW Z4 GT3||11||22:17.5001|
|18||McLaren Melbourne||Jonathon Webb (NSW)||McLaren 650S GT3||11||22:21.2855|
|19||Hogs Breath Cafe/Griffith Co||Mark Griffith (QLD)||Mercedes Benz AMG GT||11||22:22.8240|
|20||Objective Racing||Tony Walls (QLD)||McLaren 650S GT3||11||22:25.8323|
|21||M Motorsport||John Magro (QLD)||Lamborghini Gallardo||11||22:31.9575|
|22||JAMEC PEM Racing||Stephen McLaughlan (VIC)||Audi R8 LMS||11||22:34.3847|
|23||GT Motorsport||Greg Taylor (NSW)||Audi R8 LMS||11||22:37.8613|
|24||Rosso Verde Racing||Hector Lester||Ferrari 458 GT3||11||22:41.5787|
|25||Bondi Wholefoods||Ash Samadi (VIC)||Mercedes Benz AMG SL||11||23:11.9482|
|26||Fire Rating Solutions||Matthew Turnbull (VIC)||Lamborghini LP-560 G||11||23:17.1269|
|27||Skwirk Online Education||Rod Salmon (NSW)||Audi R8 Ultra||11||23:18.9778|
|28||Fastway Couriers||Tim Miles (NSW)||Audi R8 Ultra||11||23:23.0752|
|29||AMAC Motorsport||Andrew Macpherson (NSW)||Porsche 997 GT3-R||11||23:29.1888|
|30||Koala Motorsport||Tim Macrow (VIC)||Ferrari F430 GT3||10||22:16.5261|
|DNF||Performance West||Peter Rullo (WA)||Lamborghini Gallardo||9||18:29.1005|
|DNF||SR Motorsport||Steve Richards (VIC)||BMW M6 GT3|