Chris Pither of Palmerston North and defending champion Caine Lobb of Whangarei took a win apiece as they fought out the final two races at Round 2 of the 2009/2010 NZV8 Ute Series at Pukekohe Park Raceway on Sunday
Pither, 'The Doctor', had taken maximum points on Saturday when he qualified fastest and then won the opening race of the weekend in his ENZED Falcon. This morning Pither came from ninth on the grid to grab the lead near the end of the second race when Lobb 'The Ginja Ninja' left the smallest of gaps. Pither went on to win by 1.7 seconds with Lobb second in the Mark Cromie Holden and another Holden driver, Peter Ward third. 'Sly Si', Simon Grace was fourth while Peter 'Rocketman' Robb and Bob 'Sly & Dirty' Grove rounded out the top six.
James 'Huggi' Urquhart was the major casualty in the race. He rounded Castrol Corner to find Graham Beirne 'Snr Burner' across the track and hit the John Jones Steel Falcon causing damage to his Wildcard Racing Holden. Urquhart was forced to retire while Beirne completed the race in 11th place.
The third and final race this afternoon was a cracker. Pither was on pole with Lobb alongside and from the start it was Lobb who took the lead. Pither tried every trick in the book but could not find a way past the 'Ginja Ninja'. The race featured a compulsory pitstop, but Lobb managed to emerge back on track just in front of 'The Doctor'. Lobb held on to win, ending Pither's sequence of five straight race wins. Impressive rookie Simon Grace continued his good start to the series with third place in the Wunderfloor Commodore, doing well to hold off a resurgent Graham Beirne.
Lobb ended the race with a new lap record for NZV8 Utes, a time of 1 minute 08.869 seconds. The 'Ginja Ninja' was pleased with the win saying that handling and set-up issues had been overcome. Pither said that the Holden of Lobb had been faster on some parts of the track, his Falcon quicker in other places.
Pither won the round overall with Lobb second and Grace third. Robb, Grove and Ward rounded out the top six.
Pither now leads the championship with 308 points followed by Lobb on 268. Grace is a further 24 points adrift. Robb is fourth with 208 narrowly ahead of Graham Beirne and Mike Pero who both have 201 points.
The NZV8 Utes will pay their first visit to New Zealand's new state-of-the-art motorsport complex, Hampton Downs Motorsport Park at Meremere on 6/7 February for Round 3 of the series.
The NZV8 Utes Series enjoys support from corporate partners, ENZED, Radio Hauraki, Yokohama and Penrite for this season while the NZV8 Utes are managed by category manager, Jamie Kett of Event 1.