A big effort from Masterton husband-and-wife pairing Richard and Sara Mason saw them emerge victorious at Rally Wairarapa yesterday.
The hard-fought win also puts the local duo into the lead of the New Zealand Rally Championship with three of five rounds completed.
At lunchtime Saturday the situation was looking grim for the Masons, who were more than three minutes adrift of overnight leader Chris West because of a turbocharger failure in their Subaru Impreza.
After repairs to the car in the morning, the pair fought back to finish Saturday in fifth, 55 seconds adrift of West.
Mason then went on to win three of yesterday's nine stages run on roads in northern Wairarapa, taking the overall lead from defending champion Dean Sumner, of Rotorua, on the penultimate test. Mason spun but held on to take the victory by 4.4s from Sumner.
Third overall, was Feilding's Geoff Argyle, who maintains his lead in the open class four-wheel-drive category.
Mason's win means he takes the championship lead from Hayden Paddon, who is competing in Rally Argentina in the Production World Rally Championship category.
"I'd have to say it's been a while since I've driven that hard," Richard Mason said.
"But it was worth it. We were aiming to win the rally and that's never an easy thing, but we certainly didn't expect it to be as difficult as it was."
Overnight leader West incurred more than two minutes of penalties when his Mitsubishi had electrical issues.
West put in a valiant effort, winning three stages and setting a stage record to finish sixth overall and just over a minute behind Mason.