Craig Baird mastered changing track conditions to win the first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race in Singapore. The New Zealander held off World Touring Car Championship driver and former Carrera Cup Asia champion Darryl O'Young to take his first victory in the Asian series.
Defending champion and polesitter Christian Menzel finished down in 13th place, after gambling on tyre choice. He was one of only a few drivers who elected to start the 12 lap race on wet tyres, after the Marina Bay circuit had been hit by heavy rain earlier in the day.
Menzel made a clean getaway from the grid, but ran wide, allowing fellow front-row starter Baird to take the lead from the Hong Kong duo of Marchy Lee and O'Young, as Menzel dropped to fourth. O'Young passed Lee for second on the third lap, and began closing the lap to leader Baird. The pair ran in close proximity for the remainder of the race, but Baird held on to win by 0.347 seconds at the checkered flag. He has now closed to within two points of Menzel at the top of the standings.
After the race, a delighted Baird said: “Wow, it was so humid and mega hot out there! It's good to get the monkey off my back in Asia, and this is the first time I've been back to a track, so feel more comfortable here. I kind of knew on the grid that Christian had made the wrong tyre choice. Fair call to him though, and it could have gone either way. The track wasn't dry, and particularly at Turn 8 there were a few areas of water. We were pioneering every lap,”
O'Young said: “I was pushing hard. I got a great start and was up to third and was looking to get by Christian, when Marchy go in and passed me. It took me three laps to get past Marchy again, and that gave Craig a lead. I'd used a lot of my tyres by the time I caught him. I tried to force a mistake but he drove really well.”
Macau's Rodolfo Avila finished in fourth, ahead of the battle for Class B honours, where Mok Weng Sun defeated fellow Singapore driver Ringo Chong.