Tom Bewley has returned to the top of the podium of the Toyota 86 Championship, coming home ahead of a charging William Exton to win Race 2 at Ruapuna.
A strong start from sixth on the grid put Bewley amongst the front-runners from the get-go, with the championship contender taking the lead on Lap 2 and retaining it until the chequered flag.
Exton’s superb weekend continued with his second runner-up result in as many races, having moved forward from eighth on the grid.
Jaden Ransley completed the podium, having started ninth and successfully fended off a last-lap challenge from Cormac Murphy.
John Penny and Murphy started off the front row, with the latter getting away well and taking the lead through Turns 1 and 2.
Australian Lockie Bloxsom was another with a strong launch, jumping past Penny and slotting in behind Murphy and ahead of Bewley, who quickly moved forward off the third row and second-row starting Hayden Bakkerus.
Bewley took the lead on Lap 2 following successive passes on Bloxsom and Murphy, while Exton began picking through the field and sat fourth, ahead of Bakkerus and Ransley.
Jackson Rooney’s race ended abruptly on the second circuit, having taken contact and spinning across the track with rear damage. The trailing field avoided the car, and Rooney could return to pit lane under his own power.
Further back, Brooklyn Horan had made an impact through the mid-field, entering the top ten and sitting eighth, ahead of championship leader Hunter Robb by the end of Lap 4.
Murphy did well to match the pace of the leader through the early laps, remaining in contact as Exton moved up to third on Lap 5, with Ransley following through at the expense of Bloxsom.
Bewley pulled a small gap over the field as Exton pulled onto the rear of Murphy, with Saturday’s runner-up jumping to second on Lap 7, 2.1 seconds off the lead.
Bakkerus also made a pass on Bloxsom to re-enter the top five, while Ransley also entered the podium places following a great battle with Murphy.
Exton quickly ate into Bewley’s advantage, reducing the gap to under one second entering the final lap and charging to within half a second at the chequered flag.
Ransley finished six seconds behind the lead duo in third, fending off a fierce challenge from Murphy, who drove well for fourth, 0.337 seconds ahead of Bakkerus.
Justin Allen came home in sixth, ahead of Robb, who prevailed in a long battle with Horan, the latter finishing eighth following a solid drive from 13th.
Penny was classified tenth, two-tenths ahead of a charging Harry Townshend.
Summer Rintoule and Saxon Sheehan were amongst the race’s biggest movers, gaining four places each for 15th and 16th, respectively.
Bewley’s victorygives him a 10 point advantage from Robb, while Exton’s podium keeps him in third overall.
The Toyota 86 Championship returns for a final race at Ruapuna at 2.57 pm, with coverage live on Sky Sport.