Callum Hedge resisted race-long pressure from Louis Foster to win the opening Formula Regional Oceania race at Taupo and take the points lead.
Poleman Hedge held off Foster into turn one, but had to repeat that effort when the race was red-flagged after Jacob Abel, Bree Morris and James Penrose collided at turn one. Abel had been turned around by another driver, and the other two could not find the room to get past his spun car.
It was a long break before the field set off again, and this time they ran behind the safety car before going racing rather than doing a standing start.
Foster got all over the rear of Hedge down the straight to the chicane at the end of the lap, and tried for a move only once there despite repeatedly through the race having more pace than the leader heading into that corner.
The issue was the chicane was one of the tighest places on the lap, and when Foster tried attacking into the wider turn one he frequently locked up or ended up wrestling his car through the corner.
Hedge could never escape, but Foster also could not get the gap between them under three tenths of a second and after 18 laps they finished 0.389s apart.
Laurens van Hoepen finished 2.293s behind in third, with Liam Sceats a further two seconds back in fourth.
Pre-race points leader Charlie Wurz started and finished fifth, briefly holding off some pressure from Kaleb Ngatoa but otherwise looking unlikely to finish anywhere other than fifth. It means he drops three points behind Hedge in the standings.
David Morales lost sixth place to a 31s penalty, dropping him to 14th and last place.
Race results (18 laps)
|1||Callum Hedge||M2 Competition||27m40.366s|
|2||Louis Foster||Giles Motorsport||+0.389s|
|3||Laurens van Hoepen||M2 Competition||+2.293s|
|4||Liam Sceats||M2 Competition||+4.319s|
|5||Charlie Wurz||M2 Competition||+8.454s|
|6||Kaleb Ngatoa||Giles Motorsport||+9.239s|
|7||Josh Mason||Kiwi Motorsport||+14.021s|
|8||Chloe Chambers||Giles Motorsport||+15.555s|
|9||Ryder Quinn||M2 Competition||+16.341s|
|10||Ryan Shehan||Giles Motorsport||+18.379s|
|11||Adam Fitzgerald||Giles Motorsport||+22.591s|
|12||Tom McLennan||Kiwi Motorsport||+25.005s|
|13||Lucas Fecury||Kiwi Motorsport||+28.269s|
|14||David Morales||M2 Competition||+43.923s|
|Ret||Jacob Abel||Kiwi Motorsport|
|Ret||James Penrose||Kiwi Motorsport|
|Ret||Bree Morris||Giles Motorsport|
|Fastest lap: Sceats, 1m25.746s