The opening round of the South Island leg in the 2011-12 BNT V8 championship has paved the way to yet another successful campaign for Nick Ross and the Total Lubricants Commodore after securing the team's first podium finish for the season.
Competing at Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway in Ruapuna over the weekend it was in race two where the Cambridge driver fought with a menacing fuel issue to cross the line in a very rewarding third place.
The weekend started well after setting a cracking pace from the word go with Ross holding the number one spot in Saturday's Top 10 Shootout for the first half of the session before being knocked off by Auckland's Tim Edgell.
"We managed to pull one out of the bag for the shootout and looking at the times coming after me it looked like we were going to do alright until Tim got us." said Ross.
In race one Ross struggled to get off the line suffering a rare bog-down at the start dropping many places before the first turn.
"I stuffed up the start of the first race and bogged it which is unusual for me. I managed to get back up to seventh place but the changes we made before the race cost us and we just didn't have the speed to get up any further." said Ross who placed seventh.
But it was the second race of the weekend where Ross began to shine, some overnight calculations and planning brought about some changes to the set up on the Holden for Sunday where Ross would start from third on the grid.
"We put together a good set up for the next race and I got off the line well and into the lead for turn one but the car was understeering into it. Tim (Edgell) got away in front of me but I held second and started to pull a gap on Martin (Short)." he said.
Ross continued to hold second place but when a fuel regulator began to malfunction it caused the car to lose some horsepower when exiting the corners and it started to look grim with series leader Angus Fogg on his tail.
"I managed to hold position after it (regulator) started jamming but in the final corner of the race I couldn't get enough speed coming out of it and "Foggy" pipped me at the finish line leaving me with third." said Ross.
With the team's first season podium banked it was time for the final race of the weekend and it was all or nothing as the challenge went to the team with a compulsory pitstop and wheel change.
"I got another good start in the last race but locked a wheel at turn one at around lap four which put me back down to eighth place. We were a bit slow in our pitstop so there's a bit of work to do there I think." said Ross.
Ross finished the final race of the weekend in eighth place.
After the Christmas break Nick Ross, the team and the Total Lubricants Commodore head down country once again for rounds three and four of the BNT V8s Championship.
First meeting of the new year is round three at Teretonga Park Invercargill over the weekend of 13-15th January 2012 which is followed by Timaru International Motor Raceway a week later on the 20-22nd January.
"We're really looking forward to the rest of the South Island rounds and moving onwards and upwards through the remaining season." said Ross.
The BNT V8s Championship returns to the North Island with round five at Manfeild Circuit 10-12th February.
Nick Ross is currently holding sixth place in the BNT V8s Championship after two rounds and is just three points shy of this season's target of finishing inside the Top five.