Craig Lowndes held off a determined Mark Winterbottom to win a dramatic V8 Supercars race three at Hidden Valley.
Lowndes jumped poleman and early race leader Dave Reynolds in the pits and fought off the late charge from race two winner Winterbottom to win a race shortened by a full restart and then punctuated by a safety car.
The first attempt at the race start barely lasted beyond Turn 1. Reynolds led Lowndes away as Garth Tander flew from 11th on the grid, diving past Will Davison for sixth. But as the pack tried to filter into Turns 2 and 3, it turned to chaos.
Scott McLaughlin found himself sandwiched between Tim Slade and Jason Bright, spearing the former into the barriers and sending the latter slewing across the grass. As the rest tried to take avoiding action, Dean Fiore slammed into the tire barrier on the outside and nearly rolled, while David Wall, Alexandre Premat and James Moffat were also caught up in the mayhem.
It meant the grid was seven cars light at the restart, which was much more measured. As Reynolds continued at the end of the first lap, Lowndes headed a dash to the pits, with teams eager to ditch the hard tyre and take advantage of the shorter, timed race distance to run the soft tyre to the end.
The following lap, Tander, Jamie Whincup, Davison and Shane van Gisbergen pitted and it was Whincup who jumped Tander, but the championship leader was then hit with a drive-through penalty for spinning the wheels before the car was lowered.
Reynolds lost track position to Lowndes when he made his stop on lap three, which would prove crucial as moments later James Courtney's stranded car at the Turn 6 hairpin caused a safety car.
Lowndes eked out a one-second advantage after the restart, comfortably controlling the race until the final couple of laps, when it came alive again.
Winterbottom passed Reynolds at Turn 1 and by the penultimate tour had closed Lowndes' lead from 1.5sec to absolutely nothing. He harried him into Turns 1 and 5, and closed right up into the Turn 6 hairpin, but Lowndes defended firmly to claim the win.
Reynolds held off the impressive Jonathon Webb for third with Tander fifth. Whincup eventually finished 19th, inheriting a place late on after Todd Kelly spun at Turn 14 after contact with Moffat.