Invercargill's Brendon Leitch won yesterday's Toyota Racing Series event at Taupo with a fine drive from third place on the grid.
After the frustrations of the past two weekends, Leitch revelled in the victory.
"Last weekend was bad," said Leitch. "So this is great. The car was a missile thanks to the team."
The championship has come alive, with Melbourne's Thomas Randle taking fourth place and closing to within four points of Dutch teenager Richard Verschoor, who could manage only eighth.
Fastest qualifier Marcus Armstrong led from the start, but Leitch managed to get his nose inside Jehan Daruvala's car, which had started from the outside of the front row of the grid, as they went into the first corner to claim second place.
An altercation between three drivers, Austrian Ferdinand Habsburg, Pukekohe's Taylor Cockerton and American Kory Enders on the first lap saw the race stopped.
From the restart, Leitch shadowed Armstrong while Daruvala was left to fight off the attack of Randle.
"I knew if I kept close to Marcus I could pressure him into a mistake," said Leitch.
Armstrong slid wide exiting a fast corner and Leitch was through. The Southlander then drove away.
"We've got to analyse what was wrong and fix it," said Armstrong who will again start from the front row today for the main race for the Denny Hulme Trophy.
Daruvala, who has pole for that race, said he decided not to chase the two Kiwis at the front yesterday.
"I was making too many mistakes and decided just to stay in front of Thomas."