Angus Fogg claimed two of the four race wins on offer this weekend at Pukekohe Park for round two of the NAPA Central Muscle Cars.
The fire-breathing Mustang pulled out all the stops in both grid races, though surprisingly struggled in the traffic during the handicap starts.
From pole, Fogg fronted the 25-strong field for all eight laps of race one and set the race’s fastest lap for a commanding opening win.
Former Toyota Racing Series champion Andy Knight settled for second-best, two-seconds adrift of Fogg. But there were plenty of promising signs shown by the Oldsmobile Starfire, matching Fogg’s race pace for most of the opening affair.
The race ran uninterrupted with Andrew Porter the only driver not to have crossed the finish stripe.
With the likes of Hugh Gardiner in the No.61 Camaro absent from the entry list, it opened up an exciting battle for the final podium position between John Midgley and Shane Holland, piloting his new Mustang around Pukekohe for the first time.
Just two-tenths separated the duo in qualifying, and a similar margin was the determining factor in the race, with Midgley leading home Holland by 0.4s.
Another notable omission was Dean Perkins. While present at the circuit with his Ford Falcon XE, a misbehaving engine had him side-lined for most of the weekend.
An engine rebuild is now on the cards for the team, who will look ahead to the remaining four rounds to try and make up some lost ground in the championship.
A big story ahead of the weekend was the return of Craig Boote, who just two weeks earlier at Manfeild suffered a hefty accident in the Boss Motorsport Mustang.
Eager to showcase the full potential of the car, Boote came home a commendable sixth, narrowly missing out on a top-five result to Dean Hansen.
The weekend’s second and third races were handicap reverse grid races, both of which had the series’ favourites run into difficultly trying to muscle their way through the pack.
In just his second Central Muscle Car event start, Kayton Coughey was able to run a clean race en route to the chequered flag.
His nearest rival was the Valiant Charger of Tony Galbraith who punched through the field, overtaking the VH Commodore of Andrew Tuner on the final lap to claim second.
Starting from the last two grid slots, Fogg and Knight remained line astern throughout the race to finish 13th and 14th.
Turner got the goods in the second handicap race, leading all eight laps after pole-sitter Rodney Head began to crawl coming along the back straight on the opening tour.
Coughey backed up his race two win with his second successive top-three result, heading Bruce Kett and Andrew Sinclair in the fight for the final podium result.
This time Knight was able to place a car between himself and Fogg. Midgley proved to be too much of a contest for Fogg, and the trio crossed the line in 15th, 16th and 17th separated by half-a-second.
The final race of the weekend was a return to a grid start, with Fogg and Knight sharing the front row.
The start was delayed momentarily to recover the stricken Tony Boyden who had stopped on the formation lap.
Knight got the best start from the front, with Holland chasing hard in hot pursuit. Meanwhile, Fogg bogged down off the line to sit third by turn one.
But an erred-filled third lap had the leading Oldsmobile yield positions to Holland and Fogg before Midgley got in on the action to relegate Knight back to fourth.
Now up front, Holland held his nerve against the lurking presence of Fogg for several laps, even lapping in a similar vicinity to his rival Mustang before ultimately the lead switched hands for one final time two laps from home.
Fogg thus sealed his second win of the weekend, with Holland two seconds further back in a standout second place. Midgely was also able to rise up to the challenge of Knight, batting away any attack for the final podium spot.
The next round of the NAPA Central Muscle Cars will be at Hampton Downs on January 22-24.