Nick Ross once again displayed why he is known by some as the rain master keeping a calm head in trying conditions as the skies opened up at Pukekohe Park Raceway over the weekend.
Round one of the BNT V8s 2011-12 season got underway with all the action and controversy punters have come to expect from Motorsport New Zealand's premier category when rain and a slippery circuit created a weekend of exciting races and crashes.
With other drivers becoming involved in wholesale carnage, especially in the second race of the weekend, Ross escaped unscathed showing again his impressive skill witnessed at the wet and wild Hamilton street race in April earlier this year finishing the previous race season on a high.
For the start of the new season the Cambridge driver was deprived of a certain entry into Saturday's Top 10 qualification shootout this weekend when a technical malfunction hindered his flying lap shortly before the finish line leaving him with the just 11th fastest time which was set in his opening attempt.
"After the first run we brought the car in to make some changes and I was on a real flyer when the cam broke coming up over the hill. Looking at the data we were two and a half tenths up before the problem hit which would have seen us at least seventh fastest in the session." said Ross.
A change of engine for the first race of the season meant that Ross was able to try out the team's new power plant in the Total Lubricants Commodore but a little earlier than the Concept Motorsport crew had planned.
"The engine was good but we didn't get the chance to get the tuning quite right so I was down a little on power in the first race." he said.
Starting in 11th Ross was unable to get around newcomer to the series Michael Bristow preventing him a top 10 finish in the opening race for the season.
In the second race of the weekend Ross used his exceptional wet weather skills making up positions as conditions became progressively worse. Leading driver Angus Fogg went off the circuit shortly before the finish of the race bouncing off the armco sparking off a series of related collisions.
With Ross avoiding all carnage he crossed the line entering the final lap in third place.
"We slowed down as we went past (the incident) and unfortunately that meant we were just 30 metres off crossing the finish line before they red flagged the race and in time to place third. They decided we had finished the race a lap down and that put us back down to 10th place." said Ross.
The final race of the weekend for the BNT V8s brought a new challenge for the teams where a new format required a pitstop with a compulsory wheel change.
The Concept Motorsport crew were all over the new format with Dale Harvey on the wheel gun and Mike Lucas on the jack. The stop was faultless and Ross was on his way to record his first top five result of the new season.
"We were lucky that we came in when we did on lap 14 because then there was a safety car deployed. There were a few nerves with the guys over the stop but I didn't notice anything and it went very well, it was good to have a change and I was also glad of the speed limiter on the car which helped me relax as I came through the pitlane." he said.
With the opening round of the season done and dusted Nick Ross will enter the second round at Christchurch's Ruapuna circuit holding 7th place equal along with Haydn McKenzie.
Round two of the BNT V8s 2011-12 season takes place at over the weekend of 9-11th December before a break over Christmas and a return to racing at Invercargill's Teretonga Park 13-15th January 2012.