Ryan Wood has won his maiden Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship race in commanding style, leading a dry-wet-dry thriller at Hampton Downs from start to finish.
Wood led home Simon Evans by 3.4s, though the real battle of the race was the scrap for the final podium positions.
With scattered showers dampening the back half of the circuit, Evans worked himself into second position with a couple of swift moves on Rowan Shepherd and Justin Allen.
The multiple national touring car champion then seemed to have the legs on the field and looked to be closing in on runaway leader Wood.
However, as quickly as the rain arrived it disappeared and soon Evans was tasked with fending off a rejuvenated Shepherd and Brock Gilchrist for the final laps.
Shepherd pushed hard, rubbing panels with Evans at the Porsche Dipper on multiple occasions, seeking for a small mistake to give him an overtaking chance.
Yet nothing eventuated, and the chequered flag flew in time for Evans to keep a hold of second.
Shepherd was one-tenth behind in third, while Gilchrist followed behind not long after in fourth. After his strong start, Allen slipped to fifth.
After provisionally qualifying on the front row, Ronan Murphy was demoted to last on the grid due to a technical infringement.
Eager to make amends, Murphy pushed hard in the early laps. But he would come to blows with his Dayle ITM Racing teammate Christina Orr-West at Turn 9 on Lap Three.
The incident had Orr-West pitched into a tank-slapper, but she managed to regather herself quickly after and continue without further drama. Murphy was also able to gain back his stride and he finished a commendable sixth.
Rookie Marco Giltrap was an impressive seventh ahead of series returnee Josh Penny, with Alexandra Whitley rounding out the top ten.
Race One Results:
- Ryan Wood – Ryan Wood Motorsport
- Simon Evans – Giltrap Racing
- Rowan Shepherd – Rowan Shepherd Racing
- Brock Gilchrist – CareVets
- Justin Allen – Allen Racing Team
- Ronan Murphy – Dayle ITM Racing
- Marco Giltrap – Giltrap Racing
- Mark Mallard – Creme Insurance
- John Penny – John Penny Homes
- Alexandra Whitley – Tony Richards Toyota
- Christina Orr-West – Dayle ITM Racing
- Tayler Bryant – MTF Finance
- Tony Austin – Genweld NZ Ltd
- Brian Scott – Giltrap Racing
- Todd Foster – International Motorsport