Nick Chester has converted pole position into a hard-fought victory over Simon Evans in Race 1 of BNT V8s' non-championship round at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint.
The dominant forces in qualifying kept up that performance in the first of three 16-lap races this weekend at Pukekohe, pulling more than four seconds clear of the field on Lap 1 alone.
Chester, in a modified Holden Commodore V8 Supercar, had a clear advantage in a straight line and that meant that Evans, driving a modified Commodore SuperTourer, could not get past despite his superiority in the corners.
Evans' best chance came when Chester was baulked by traffic in the form of Darryl Clarke (Ford Falcon TL) at the start of the penultimate lap.
He was able to pull alongside the race leader as they entered the back straight but Chester forced Evans all the way to the edge line and used his horsepower to get out of trouble and retain the spot.
They were separated by 0.766s at the chequered flag, while current championship regular Lance Hughes finished 42.426s further back in a somewhat cranked up Holden Commodore.
Hughes got by John Midgley (Ford Falcon SuperTourer) into Turn 1 on Lap 8 and Midgley went on to finish fourth, while Nick Ross rounded out the top five in a Nissan Altima TLX which was blowing smoke during the race.
Paul Radisich was only ninth in the NASCAR-engined Ford Mustang after a series of dramas.
‘The Rat' had qualified third but held that position only until he lit up the rears and spun on his own as he entered the back straight on the opening lap, before stopping multiple times on-track due to an apparent technical gremlin.
The final two races of the weekend take place tomorrow at 1040 local time/0840 AEST and 1500 local time/1300 AEST.