An imperious display by Matthew Payne saw the young rookie cruise to a second successive Castrol Toyota Racing Series victory at Hampton Downs, which awarded him the Dorothy Smith Memorial Cup.
Payne fronted the field in all 30 laps of the feature race, leading home Kaleb Ngatoa by 14.780s.
The commanding win further extends Payne’s points lead and puts the 18-year-old in prime position championship wise ahead of the season finale in two weeks.
Another excellent start was vital in Payne’s downing of his rivals. The polesitter got the holeshot and within the opening lap had established a one-second cushion.
Billy Frazer had started alongside Payne on the front row but was swamped by those behind him on the dash into turn one.
Still, Frazer came out ahead, and by the end of lap one, the top-three was Payne, Frazer and Ngatoa.
As Payne stormed away, Frazer came under immense pressure from both Ngatoa and Tom Alexander, with trio temporarily running three abreast through turn one.
Unfortunately, Frazer would be shuffled wide at turn two and sustain damage to his steering in a clash.
The defending Formula Ford champion was able to drag himself back to the pitlane, albeit with some marshals’ assistance. He would eventually finish five laps down on the leaders.
Ngatoa continued and settled himself into second, while Alexander dropped a spot to Peter Vodanovich.
From there, the race ran in procession with only a late scrap between Ngatoa and Vodanovich the real on-track action.
Alexander would close on the two, bringing the three cars within two seconds of each other, but none were able to shake up the running order.
A few purple sectors by Payne over the final stages of the race suggested the youngster still had pace to unlock. He was the only driver capable of lapping in the 1.01s throughout the race.
Chris Vlok ran a lonely race in fifth, ten seconds adrift of the battle for second, while Conrad Clark was last of the those on the lead lap.
The 2021 season will now have one more round before drawing to the close, with four races around Circuit Chris Amon in Manfeild over February 12-14.
*Peter Vodanovich has since been disqualified for a ride height infringement, elevating Tom Alexander to third.
TRS Race Five results
Main Image: John Cowpland/TGRNZ