Nick Ross has withstood high pressure from Jack Smith to win Race 1 of Round 5 of the BNT V8s Championship at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon.
Just over three tenths of a second separated the title protagonists at the chequered flag as Ross capitalised on Smith’s poor start from pole position.
The Australian made a hash of his launch and was passed by Ross and then Brenton Grove on his outside, while the next four briefly went four-wide.
Smith recovered one position when he got down the inside of Grove at Turn 1 on Lap 2 as the latter got crossed up and briefly onto the grass, resulting in Lance Hughes also going by.
Grove righted his #10 Richards Team Motorsport Camry only to be unloaded seconds later by Brad Lathrope (#73 Brad Lathrope Racing Falcon), while Smith needed less than three more laps to catch the race-leading #007 Concept Motorsport Altima.
The Super2 driver showed the nose of his #85 Hamilton Motorsports Commodore several times, he and Ross even going side-by-side through Turn 1 at the start of Lap 8.
Ross regularly mid-tracked the Nissan under brakes and managed to deny the series leader, while Hughes tailed both of them to finish only another three tenths back in the #84 Hamilton Motorsports Commodore.
“That was awesome, a cool race,” said Ross.
“We still don’t quite have the pace that Jack has, but it’s a lot better than at Teretonga.
“We can actually get bit of a gap every now and then, but then the tyres go off and we have to re-set.
“It’s nice to win a race with Jack on the track behind us. He’s still got a bit of pace and we’ve still got a bit of work to do to keep this championship alive.”
Grove ended up sixth, Lathrope seventh, and Chelsea Herbert eighth after a spin at the end of Lap 1.
Herbert had been running fifth when she sprayed her #62 Camry off the track at Turn 7 but just saved it from hitting the tyre wall.
Matt Podjursky won Class Two in 10th outright.
The penultimate round of the 2018/19 season concludes with two more races tomorrow in Feilding.