Smeg Racing's Simon Evans has won the second and third races of round three of the NZ Touring Car championship at Hampton Downs. The results help him extend his lead in the series points standings.
However, neither race was a straight forward affair, with the Commodore pilot forced to fight through the order in both races.
Evans was happy to concede that his winning of race three's reverse-grid format in particular required a small amount of luck to avoid the lap one carnage that took place.
"In those reverse-grid races, the first lap can either go your way or not — and luckily the heavens sort of opened. To end the first lap in second, I was pretty lucky," Evans explained to Driven.
"From there I just pressed on and worried about what I needed to do. I looked after the tyres in case there was a safety car at the end. For me it was probably the easiest reverse-grid race that I'll have in my whole entire life."
Richard Moore on the podium. Photo / Velocity NZ
But despite his Sunday success, the round win went to V8 returnee Richard Moore, who claimed a pair of second-place finishes in today's races.
"To have a result like that is pretty awesome. We were assisted a little yesterday when Simon had that run, but to be the next best is great. Obviously the Smeg boys have been the guys to beat," said Moore.
Despite the successful return to the track — complimented by a further round victory in the UDC V8 utes with a guest drive — Moore's future in the series is still yet to be assured. But the round win places him in good stead.
"This is very much a one-off thing at the moment, but we need more people on board to support us. I think I proved that we're good enough, having not been in this car for 12 months," he said.
"We're not quite there [rivalling Smeg Racing] obviously, we've got some work to do to try and bridge that gap. But I feel like we've got the ball rolling a bit to go out to some people and talk about filling some of those blank spaces on the car."
After issues during practice, Angus Fogg had to borrow a Team Kiwi Commodore for the weekend. Photo / Velocity
Mitch Cunningham looked to have the pace to challenge for most of the weekend, but luck deserted him on several instances in today's two races. The Falcon pilot could only salvage a 15th and 6th for his Sunday effort after first spinning while trying to hold off a charging Evans in race two, then after getting involved in a collision with Angus Fogg in race three.
Among those to benefit from Cunningham's indifferent weekend was Australian 17-year-old Bryce Fullwood, who took a third and a fourth in his Bartercard Holden Commodore.
In class two, Brock Cooley took round honours after complimenting his win in race one with another in race two. Kevin Williams won the final race, but it was Brad Lathrope and Simon Fleming that claimed second and third for the round.
Two wins for Simon Evans helps his title hopes. Photo / Velocity NZ
The series will now prepare to head down South to Ruapuna for round four of the 2015-’16 championship January 16–17, 2016.
1. Simon Evans (Holden) 2. Richard Moore (Holden) 3. Bryce Fullwood (Holden) 4. Tim Edgell (Holden) 5. Angus Fogg (Holden) 6. Nick Ross (Nissan) 7. Jason Bargwanna (Toyota) 8. Tom Alexander (Holden) 9. Scott Taylor (Toyota) 10. Lance Hughes (Holden)
1. Simon Evans (Holden) 2. Richard Moore (Holden) 3. Jason Bargwanna (Toyota) 4. Bryce Fullwood (Holden) 5. Nick Ross (Nissan) 6. Mitchell Cunningham (Ford) 7. Tom Alexander (Holden) 8. Kevin Williams (Holden — class two) 9. Brock Cooley (Ford — class two) 10. Brad Lathrope (Ford — class two)