Team Vodafone's Craig Lowndes took a dominant win in race three of the Nikon SuperGP at Surfers Paradise as his teammate's championship lead took another significant hit.
Lowndes led from start to finish, but it was teammate Jamie Whincup's crash on the second-last lap that may prove to be a significant moment in this year's championship.
With championship contender Will Davison limping around after damaging his steering early in the race, Whincup seemed on track to catch up most of the margin he lost to Davison following yesterday's incident in race one. But with just over a lap remaining, he understeered into the wall near the end of the lap as he approached some lapped cars.
He then rebounded into the wall on the other side, ending up with broken left front suspension. It is not clear whether the team will be able to repair the damage in time for this afternoon's second race.
Failing to greet the checkered flag, Whincup scored no points, while Davison, who actually completed less laps than Whincup, finished 21st and scored points to continue to narrow the margin to Whincup.
Second place was taken by Mark Winterbottom for Ford Performance Racing, with Davison's team-mate Garth Tander, recovering well from his qualifying outside the top ten. Fourth was Russell Ingall, while the two Jim Beam Racing cars carved through the field from 13th and 19th to finish sixth and seventh.
Pole man Jason Bargwanna had an up and down race. Losing the lead to Lowndes at the start, he was forced to pit just after the first safety car to fix an engine miss. But after dropping to 24th, he made the most of the rest of the race and the two subsequent safety cars to finish ninth.
While Winterbottom finished second, for a long time Rick Kelly ran in that position. But he was blackflagged for a minor fuel leak, and after he pitted for the black flag, he then suffered a flat tyre, second place turning into 20th by the checkered flag.
As bad as his day was, Fabian Coulthard and Cameron McConville had a much worse one, both cars not even making it to turn one after they were involved in an incident just after the start, Coulthard tagged by another car, bouncing into McConville with both cars hitting the wall, Coulthard's hitting it extremely hard.
Pos Driver Make Time
1. Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon FG 1:13:55.2217
2. Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG + 2.2340
3. Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE + 3.6111
4. Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE + 6.2527
5. James Courtney Ford Falcon FG + 11.4425
6. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG + 15.8620
7. David Reynolds Holden Commodore VE + 17.7280
8. Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG + 20.9609
9. Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE + 24.4739
10. Jason Richards Holden Commodore VE + 25.3749
11. Paul Dumbrell Holden Commodore VE + 26.1219
12. Steven Richards Ford Falcon FG + 26.5370
13. Tony D'Alberto Holden Commodore VE + 27.0634
14. Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE + 27.4996
15. Dean Fiore Holden Commodore VE + 35.5398
16. Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG + 35.9163
17. Tim Slade Holden Commodore VE + 40.7022
18. Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 41.1379
19. Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG + 1 lap
20. Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 1 lap
21. Will Davison Holden Commodore VE + 3 laps
22. Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE + 5 laps
Driver Make Laps
Jamie Whincup Ford Falcon FG 32
Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE 19
Mark McNally Holden Commodore VE 13
Michael Patrizi Ford Falcon BF 8
Jack Perkins Holden Commodore VE 8
Cameron McConville Holden Commodore VE 0
Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG 0