The pairings of Scott McLaughlin/Jono Webb and Nick Cassidy/Jack Perkins left round one of the V8 SuperTourers endurance races even on points.
However, because of the complicated nature of the points system it was the V8 Supercars Development Series driver McLaughlin and main game pilot Webb who came away with the inaugural Ashley Stichbury Trophy.
Cassidy and Perkins took the honours in the first of the 200km races but were pipped at the post in race two by McLaughlin and Webb.
"There was a hole in the exhaust so we were down a bit on power [race two] and I struggled to get past Daniel Gaunt in the early stages, which hurt us a bit," says Cassidy.
"But, from there on, Jack did a good job and got pretty close in the end."
McLaughlin came to Taupo in scintillating form, having podiumed in all three races at the last round of the Development Series in Ipswich.
"It was a good weekend and getting those poles for both races helped a lot," says McLaughlin.
"We [Webb] teamed up pretty well and got the result. The racing overall has been going really well and I've been having a good run, which is fortunate, and I've just got to keep it going."
Former New Zealand V8 champion John McIntyre with co-driver Jono Lester rounded out the podium finishes in third for both races with Richard Moore and Nascar Nationwide stand-in driver Owen Kelly finishing fourth on both occasions.
"Overall, it was an excellent weekend for John McIntyre Racing," says McIntyre.
"Car speed wasn't quite there, but it's reliable and strong. We had solid race pace and the co-drivers did a great job. We really nailed the race strategy and I'm delighted with the overall results."
The V8 SuperTourers now head north to Pukekohe for the second enduro round on October 26-28 before the finale at Ruapuna, Christchurch on November 24-25.
Evans hangs on to lead
New Zealand GP3 driver Mitch Evans goes to Monza this weekend for the last round of the series still leading the points' standing. He had a tough time at Spa Francorchamps last weekend but still managed to increase his points' lead by 4.5. Evans was the fastest qualifier for race one and finished third in the truncated race. His second race came unstuck when he suffered damage after Antonio Felix da Costa cut him up on the outside line at the Bus Stop chicane.
"He just came across on me and hit my left front. It upset the toe out and castor because the steering wheel was crooked for the rest of the race and the car wouldn't turn in at corners," says Evans.
The Kiwi struggled on manfully finishing in 15th, and missing out on any championship points.
While Evans and Aario Vainio came away with no points, the Finn was overtaken by Felix da Costa who moves into second place in the championship.
Kiwi and Aussie win
Kiwi Steve Ross and top Aussie Bryan Sala ended up sharing the spoils at the opening round of the 2012/13 MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series in Sydney over the weekend.
Sala won race one from Ross, who came good in race two by winning from Roger Williams and Aaron Burson, while Sala and Smith retired with mechanical issues. Race three provided the fireworks with Smith and Sala rocketing through the pack to finish behind race winner Ross.
The second round is back in New Zealand at the end of October (at the Lady Wigram Trophy meeting at Ruapuna) and then the two NZ Festival of Motor Racing - celebrating Denny Hulme - meetings at Hampton Downs in January.By Eric Thompson