After taking second place at round two of the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship Northland's Tom Marshall went one better in round three of the Pro Series with victory at Tauranga's ASB Baypark Stadium.
The win means Marshall sits atop the points standings just ahead of title contender Cole Armstrong, who suffered at his local event.
"This is our fourth year now so to finally get a win in the Pro Series is amazing," said Marshall.
"I've always wanted a win, but to finally do it - we're stoked!"
Hometown favourite Cole Armstrong was an early casualty after the judges decided to go the way of South Island driver Joel Counter, who proceeded through to the top-eight.
Counter put in an aggressive chase on pole sitter Armstrong, but the local man mirrored Counter's chase perfect. However, as the V Energy backed Nissan Skyline 250GT approached the final turn, Armstrong hit the inside clipping point, which earned him a deduction.
Andrew Redward's return to the D1NZ fold began with a bold chase on Daynom Templeman. The Achilles Radial Club Auto Mazda RX-7 FC put the pressure on Templeman straight away. He dropped back, but the initial pressure saw Templeman run too hot into the penultimate corner as he spun - so Redward led 10-0.
Templeman continued to falter. On his chase he put in a similar chase to Redward, but dropped two wheels off at the second to last corner, an easy win for Redward.
The battles continued to stir up incredibly close battles. Australian Beau Yates and Gaz Grove fought hard in a battle which saw Yates progress despite a strong chase and lead by Grove. Yates was given the road through to the top-eight after Grove was pinged for not following the right lines set by the judges.
Man of the moment - Joel Counter - put in a storming chase run on the remaining Team DSR drifter, Adam Davies. However, Adam Davies was given the green light after Counter briefly straight lined on his lead run.
Redward continued his impeccable chasing into the top-eight with victory over Yates. The Australian pushed hard to catch Redward, but the returnee proved too strong. The judges determined Yates struggled on both his lead and chase runs, which were relatively shallow compared to Redwards.
After cruising past Troy Jenkins, Marshall defeated a hard charging Chad McKenzie who brought home his best result in the D1NZ Pro Series since graduating from the Pro-Sport Series as 2015-'16 champion.
The order was soon set for the top-four - Andrew Redward took on Adam Davies and Nico Reid faced Tom Marshall.
Redward went up against Davies first. In his bright yellow banana he kep close on the back of Davies' Nissan Silvia S14. Davies succumbed to the pressure and duly straight lined and spun. A valiant chase by Davies came to no avail as Redward was given the right of way into the final.
Reid led Marshall on the first run - Marshall chased and the pair were fairly evenly matched. Reid's only mistake came from hitting the barrel at the final clipping point. Marshall's lead was strong, but the judges opted for a one-more-time.
The final dice between the two was close, but ultimately it was Marshall who capitalised and defeated Reid.
His top-four win put him up against Redward who looked a hard task to beat. In their first run the pair were inseparable. The pair both ran strong chases, but the judges ruled a one-more-time once again.
Marshall led first with Redward in tow. Fortunately for Marshall, Redward made hard work of winning the round as he dropped a wheel off through the switch. The mistake handed Marshall an advantage, and with it, he cruised through his chase battle to take a popular victory.
In the battle for third place Nico Reid was defeated by Adam Davies, which gave the hometown Team DSR drifter his first podium position in only his second season of Pro Series competition.
Winner Marshall said his goal is to finish inside the top-three in the Pro Series standings by the season's end at Pukekohe Park, but he isn't ruling out a proper title bid.
"[My goal] is just to focus a bit more now, take it a bit more seriously instead of just for fun, and see if we can take away a podium in the championship points.
"There's a possibility I suppose because I'll be up there in the points. With two more rounds it could easily be done but it's anyone's game still probably for the top-six or seven drivers I would say."
With his podium finish at round two and victory at the latest round Marshall now sits atop the points standings with two more rounds remaining in the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship.