Matthew Payne has earned his maiden win in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, seeing off Peter Vodanovich to win race four of the championship at Hampton Downs.
Payne led all 25 laps en route to victory, but was not left off the hook entirely as a late push by Vodanovich had the two separated by just over five-tenths in the final laps.
Eventually, Payne would hang on to take the chequered flag first, with Vodanovich and Billy Frazer in tow.
It was a lightning start by Payne that ensured he led into turn one unchallenged, with Frazer and Vodanovich slotting in behind.
Kaleb Ngatoa had a sluggish getaway, and he slipped behind Vodanovich and Chris Vlok on the opening tour. He soon made amends and was back ahead of Vlok with a swift overtake down the inside at the Porsche Dipper.
A one-second buffer emerged between Payne and Frazer by lap four. Soon, Frazer had lost a place to Vodanovich as the two gaggled over second and third.
Vodanovich then began lapping faster than anyone in the field, with the difference between the front two closing on each passing lap.
Another intriguing skirmish was between Vlok, Conrad Clark and Tom Alexander for fifth back to seventh.
Clark muscled himself to the head of the battle-pack before gradually easing himself out of attack range. Alexander, meanwhile, had elevated himself to sixth and ahead of Vlok.
After a flurry of rapid laps, Alexander put up a wily move Clark at Turn 8, and the two would dice it out side-by-side for an entire lap before Alexander made the decisive pass.
With nine laps in hand, Vodanovich had sliced Payne’s advantage to under half-a-second. Payne’s tough defence and some late personal bests ensured the championship leader claimed his maiden series win.
Vodanovich crossed the line just 1.020s behind Payne, with Frazer 3.5s back to round out the rostrum.
Ngatoa was unable to close in on Frazer and settled for fourth, ahead of Alexander, Clark and Vlok.
Attention now turns to race five and the weekend’s final race, which will begin at 3.20 pm.
TRS Race Four results: