Garry Rogers driver Michael Caruso scored his maiden win in a close finish to race two at SkyCity Triple Crown at Hidden Valley Raceway.
Caruso held on to a much-deserved win despite a late-race safety car period giving opportunities to rivals who would have not been able to challenge him without it.
Using fresh sprint tyres at the start, Caruso moved up the order in the opening laps to take the lead on lap right, opening up a margin over the rest of the field before making his first pitstop on lap 17, leading his closest challenger Rick Kelly by around eight seconds with about ten laps remaining.
However, when Tim Slade came to a stop on track, it brought out the safety car, setting up a nine lap sprint to the chequered flag. In the closing laps, the challenge first came from Craig Lowndes, but in the final lap he had another driver to worry about.
Alex Davison had left his new sprint tyres until the final stop, and having taken the restart in 13th, tore through the field as most of the field struggled on older control tyres, up to third just six laps after the restart, taking second from Lowndes on the final lap and would have taken the lead from Caruso given another lap (or two at most).
Lowndes came home third, having made a forceful pass just after the restart to get ahead of Rick Kelly who finished fourth, while Garth Tander ended up fifth after losing out at turn one on the restart, having spent the whole race up to that point just ahead of Lowndes.
Right behind Tander was Paul Dumbrell, with Caruso's team-mate Lee Holdsworth in seventh, Russell Ingall in eight and Shane van Gisbergen in ninth, not able to achieve team-mate Davison's heroics after using the sprint tyres in the middle of the race.
Jamie Whincup finished tenth and was never in the battle for victory, but was probably the only driver apart from Tander in the top-ten who did not use the sprint tyres in the second race after using them for quite a few laps in race one.
After starting 22nd and 23rd, Steven Johnson and Steven Richards made good gains to finish 13th and 14th, though Richards' team-mate Mark Winterbottom's race went the other way, finishing 17th after starting 3rd on used sprint tyres.
He finished a place ahead of HRT's Will Davison who was sixth at the restart but lost places on the restart lap and the following lap, including contact with James Courtney.
This proved crucial in the championship standings, allowing Whincup to stretch his lead over Davison to 144 points instead of shrinking to under 100, with Davison's team-mate Tander third, 318 points behind Whincup, with Lowndes, Holdsworth and Johnson close behind.
Pos Driver Make Time
1. Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE 1:25:24.6054
2. Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG + 0.6079
3. Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon FG + 3.1961
4. Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 8.7740
5. Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE + 9.3277
6. Paul Dumbrell Holden Commodore VE + 10.0025
7. Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE + 11.9097
8. Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE + 12.9226
9. Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG + 15.2087
10. Jamie Whincup Ford Falcon FG + 15.7161
11. Jason Richards Holden Commodore VE + 16.1662
12. James Courtney Ford Falcon FG + 18.1198
13. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG + 19.9473
14. Steven Richards Ford Falcon FG + 24.2530
15. Michael Patrizi Ford Falcon BF + 24.6698
16. Marcus Marshall Ford Falcon BF + 25.1840
17. Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG + 26.1051
18. Will Davison Holden Commodore VE + 34.4743
19. Jason Bright Ford Falcon BF + 34.5132
20. Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG + 1 lap
21. Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE + 1 lap
22. Dale Wood Holden Commodore VE + 1 lap
23. Cameron McConville Holden Commodore VE + 1 lap
24. Jack Perkins Holden Commodore VE + 1 lap
25. Tim Slade Holden Commodore VE + 2 laps
26. Dean Fiore Holden Commodore VE + 3 laps
27. David Reynolds Holden Commodore VE + 10 laps
28. Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 15 laps
Driver Make Laps
Tony D'Alberto Holden Commodore VE 35
Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE 34