It was deja vu for defending ENZED V8 Ute Racing Series champion Caine Lobb and current points leader Chris Pither as they fought over this year's title at the Powerbuilt International Raceway in Ruapuna over the weekend.
Another tie on points at the end of four races over the meeting was a repeat of the situation at the previous round at Hampton Downs when the pair won two races apiece. The pair also took two second places each as they battled closely throughout the weekend creating a stalemate on the title fight.
This weekend Whangarei driver Lobb was hoping to smash the deadlock and close the gap on Palmerston North's Pither at Ruapuna after the tie at Hampton Downs which left him still trailing by 40 points.
And now after another hard fight between the two over the deficit in points remains unchanged with just this weekend's final round remaining to decide the victor.
"We weren't as fast at the weekend as we would have liked and Chris always had the legs on us but we were just really consistent, kept in it and got the points." said Lobb.
Although not able to match the outright pace of Pither, a couple of errors by him left the door open for Lobb to take away two race wins from the penultimate round at Ruapuna leaving the points deficit in a deadlock before the ENZED V8 Ute Racing Series final at Timaru this weekend.
Lobb took race wins in the third and fourth races after Pither won the first two. Because Lobb won the final race he was awarded the round win although the pair were equal on points after both placed second in the races not won by them.
The results of these drivers were impressive but has left the title chase unchanged over both rounds three and four with Pither holding a 40 point lead with just round five remaining to decide the champion.
At Ruapuna over the weekend it looked as though Pither was going to take three race wins when he ran into problems near the end of the final race.
"Chris had a good couple of seconds on us in the final race and on the last lap he slowed down dramatically and started swerving all over the place and I drove past. It turned out he had a fuel surge which also happens on my car when you run the fuel down past a certain level so we always run a full tank." said Lobb.
With 40 points between them Pither has a nice buffer going into the final but there remains four races and 156 points maximum available giving Lobb an outside chance of snatching the lead away at the last moment. He certainly won't be giving up until crossing the finish line in race four this Sunday at Timaru.
"There is no change in the points but it would just take one DNF from Chris for me to be back in the hunt for the title this weekend so it's not over yet." said Lobb.
The action packed final round of the ENZED V8 Ute Racing Series at Timaru International Motor Raceway will get underway on Saturday 27th March with practice in the morning, qualification in the afternoon followed by the first of four aggressive Holden vs Ford races for the weekend. On Sunday the 28th the racing utes will supply a further three V8 powered races where this season's title fight will be settled once and for all.
No matter what happens when the 2009-10 series wraps up this weekend, the action will be underway again in very special circumstances when the ENZED V8 Utes contest the first ever Trans Tasman Test where they will go head to head against 16 drivers from the sister series in Australia.
The Aussies will travel to New Zealand where the 32 roaring V8 utes will contest the 'TTT' as a support class for the V8 Supercar Championship at the ITM 400 in Hamilton on the 16-18th of April 2010.