It appeared Dutchman Richard Verschoor would cruise to the Toyota Racing Series title but now he finds himself in a dogfight to catch Australian Thomas Randle at this weekend's finale at Manfeild.
Randle jumped in front of Verschoor in the standings after the Red Bull junior driver struggled with his car at Taupo.
"The gap is 27 now - we were in front before my crash but that happens," said Verschoor. "We will push hard this weekend and I will try everything to take those points back.
"It went really well before the last race at Hampton Downs. I lost a lot of points after the re-start there from the crash.
"The weekend after in Taupo was really bad. We still don't know what went wrong. We just didn't have the speed from the first session on.
"Randle has been strong all series but I will just try to finish in front every time and that is all I can do.
With nothing to lose, the 16-year-old Verschoor says he will put it all on the line to try to win the championship.
"I just want to go for the win so I will take a lot of risks this weekend. I don't like being second so I will just go for the win."
Verschoor has never driven on the Manfeild circuit but has prepared by doing the next best thing.
"I did some simulator work and that was quite good. I like a lot of corners in the track and there are a lot of corners there and there is also a chance of rain and I like the rain."
While his focus remains on winning the TRS championship, the Sunday feature race at Manfeild doubles as the New Zealand Grand Prix and Verschoor admits he would love to get his name etched on the trophy that includes some of motorsport's biggest names.
"I think the championship is the main aim but the second aim will be the Grand Prix and it would be amazing to win that."