Hanley - driving the Brother-backed Holden Ute - won the first race on Saturday and followed it up with two more wins on Sunday. His exceptional speed in the early laps of the races - including the reverse marble draw where he started near the back - was a clear indication the young racer has talent and it left the opposition once again fighting for the minor positions.
Second overall for the round was Mike 'Buzz' Lightfoot who bagged a second, two thirds and a seventh in the four races whilst Peter Ward `did it again at Ruapuna, winning the reverse marble draw and grabbing a third, a fifth and an eighth place finish to take third overall.
Right from the first turn 'Hammer Time' had the hammer down and streaked out to a lead of several ute-lengths by the end of the first lap. It was impressive stuff from the Hampton Downs round winner.
"The car was awesome, fully hooked up," he said. "Buzz got a slightly better start than I did but by the kink I was ahead and I was able to edge out a decent lead by the end of the first lap."
Buzz - aka Mike Lightfoot and team mate to Hanley - never gave up the chase, and was quicker through the first of the three sectors that divide the Powerbuilt Tools track for much of the race. This became more obvious as the six lap sprint progressed. He brought the gap down to under a second by lap four and on lap five looked set for an attack on the leader but a big slide at the start of the final lap cost him six tenths of a second and any chance passing Hanley. Added to that Hanley bagged his and the race's quickest lap on the final time around and it was another emphatic win for the up and coming ace.
Behind Lightfoot, Peter Ward grabbed third from Rob Gibson, who put in another impressive performance. Hamish Cross, Dave Kernohan, Brett Rudd and Jeff Kernohan completed the top eight with James Urquart a very disgruntled non-finisher after a big hit on the opening lap damaged his right rear corner and left him no option but to retire.
Race two was all about Chris Hanley again and his ever tightening grip on this year's UDC NZ V8 series.
The youngster simply disappeared on the first lap in fine style. Showing all the hallmarks of a very gifted driver, he ran laps regularly one second faster than the competitive field behind him in his Brother Holden Ute. Behind him, however, there was a great battle developing for the next places. Brett Rudd held a fine second place early on, his single season of motorsport not showing as he put up a great defence against the much more experienced Peter Ward in third. Rob Gibson was also keeping ward on his toes and his eyes on his mirrors. Mike Lightfoot wanted a piece of the action too, moving onto the back of the scrap for second, third and fourth. 'Buzz' then passed Gibson at the end of lap five as the field slipstreamed their way through half way.
Peter Ward had a wild moment on lap six, in a doomed attempt to pass Rudd, moving Lightfoot to second. Gibson moved up into third and had his hands full with a feisty Hamish Cross, his Ute looking quick in the final stages of the race. Hanley it was, however, who bagged the race win in style.
Peter Ward raced through to take his second win of the season in fine style, holding off series pace-setter Chris Hanley and the ever improving Hamish Cross.
Ward took advantage of an early race moment when leaders Rob Gibson (from pole position) and Hamish Cross out-braked themselves and allowed the experienced Ute racer to leap through down the straight and into a lead he would never use. Hanley once again used his prodigious speed to good effect, racing through the field quickly to take up battle at the front. On this occasion though, Ward's pace was too much.
"I got an average start,” he explained. "And Gibson got a good start and it kind of went from there. Hamish past me and the two were having such a great fight, it was absolutely brilliant. Then Hanley got involved in the dog fight and thankfully the two ahead of me forgot to brake and I was through and gone down the main straight. It was just fantastic racing in those early laps."
Hamish Cross took the third place in the end in his BNT-backed Ute, while Brett Rudd took fourth and Jeff Kernohan rounded out the top five.
Hanley got a flyer yet again and rocketed into the lead and then delivered his killer speed in the first few laps to take control of the race.
Brett Rudd was at the sharp end early but ran wide on the infield and dropped to sixth, a position from which he was unable to recover in a competitive field. Mike Lightfoot held down a strong second place and looked full of speed in his chase of Hanley, but the youngster responded with a lap more than one second better than anyone else and effectively the race was over at that point.
The safety car out lap eight for debris on the track, a legacy of some earlier contact in the packed midfield bunch, but Hanley was cleanly away at the restart and was able to maintain his lead. Hamish Cross got a great drive out of the last turn and passed Lightfoot on the drag up to the first turn to take second, a position he was able to hold through until the chequered flag.
A mad last lap saw Mike Lightfoot spin wildly on the infield, and Jeff Kernohan went off too. In the confusion the race officials decided to call it one lap early and Hanley cruised home to victory ahead of a delighted Cross in second - the woes of Hampton Downs now firmly behind him.