Jonny Reid and Neil Foster have put themselves in the prime championship spot after winning round three of the North Island Endurance Series three-hour at Taupo.
Reid overtook the Aston Martin Vantage of Darren Kelly in the final half of the race to put the Audi R8 into the lead.
From there, Reid and Foster executed a cunning drive to nurse their tyres home to clinch victory by one lap.
The biggest talking point of the race was a hefty shunt for young Marco Giltrap in a McLaren GT4.
What looked like a mechanical failure, the McLaren careened into a barrier at the end of the back straight.
Giltrap looked shaken but looked in good spirits as the medical crew took him for further examination.
The consequent safety car took a decent chunk out of the race and came at a time which hurt the Aston Martin of Kelly and Alex Riberas.
Riberas had put in a storming first stint to lead the field by nearly half a lap until the accident.
However, he could not put a lap on Foster in the No.22 R8, which Reid said was a crucial moment in their pursuit of the win.
“I have to commend Neil today,” Reid said. “He absolutely nailed that first stint.”
With the field re-grouped for the safety car restart and the Aston’s massive lead suddenly vanished, Reid was able to pounce and pulled off the move for the lead at the final chicane.
“It’s a good day for me,” Foster said.
“It wasn’t easy out there; tyres especially but also a stint of an hour and ten. It was hotter than we had in the past.
“I was full focus. I didn’t want that Aston to catch me and lap me.
“So, it was a good day.”
The win is the second on the trot for Reid and Foster, and both wins had them have to overtake the Aston Martin on track.
“Delighted with the win,” Reid added.
“This is what we have come to do, and we have executed two from two.”
Starting from pole, Riberas leapt away from the drop of the green flag.
By the ten-minute mark, his lead was a handy five seconds.
Twenty minutes later and Riberas was nearly half a minute clear of the challenging pack.
However, the untimely safety car threw the team off guard, and their gamble on strategy to push hard early didn’t pay off.
“It is hard to come second today knowing that, in my opinion, we had the quickest car out there,” Riberas said.
“Today, we gambled on the strategy, and it didn’t work our way.
“The good thing is that we still depend on ourselves to win the championship.
“Pole position and victory in Puke, that is what it will take.”
Third place and finishing on the same lap as the Aston was Sam Fillmore and Andrew Fawcett.
Fawcett had a shaky opening lap and had dropped to fifth after starting on the front row.
However, strong stints from both drivers meant they recovered well to finish on the podium.
Lance Hughes and Chris van der Drift enjoyed one of their most competitive outings this season, crossing the line fourth.
The Nissan GT-R GT3 was impressive through Taupo’s technical first and middle sectors, and van der Drift was able to pull off some impressive moves.
Glenn Smith and John de Veth were fifth, ahead of Shane Helms and Greg Murphy.
The final round of the championship will be at Pukekohe Park on June 26-27.
Main Image: Tayler Burke