Ryan Wood can tick off his first endurance race win after a masterful showing at Highlands Motorsport Park in the Class C and D one-hour race.
The rookie had never done an endurance race until today and only drove the Cromwell circuit for the first time in his 991 Cup Car on Friday.
Wood led from pole position and smartly threaded his way through lap traffic when needed to take the chequered flag first.
At one stage, his margin over second place was well over 20 seconds. He did ease off the gas to nurse a soft brake pedal in the closing few laps, with Marco Schelp finishing 8.6s behind in the runners-up position.
I’m pretty happy with that,” Wood said. “Not much more you could ask for; pole and the race win.
“It was our goal from the start to win. So, to do that, I’m stoked.”
Chris Henderson was a notable third. His V8-powered Toyota 86 was able to take the fight to the Porsche GT machinery around him.
The race wasn’t without its chaos.
First, Johnny and Chris Small had a brake pedal issue that sidelined them for several laps.
Then, Russell McKenzie’s Porsche was left battered and bruised in a big shunt with the wall at the Southern Loop.
Mckenzie is reportedly ok after the accident, though his car needs a considerable repair effort before round two in a fortnight.
Martin Neil had a mishap along the main straight, putting an early end to his race.
Steering clear of all the drama around him was Jarrod Owens. He finished fourth overall, just ahead of Jordan Michels in the debut outing for the MARC Ford Focus.
Levels Raceway in Timaru hosts round two of the championship on October 16.
Main Image: Mark Petch