Craig Lowndes delivered his third straight V8 Supercars victory in race one at Eastern Creek, as his former points-leading Triple Eight Holden teammate Jamie Whincup had a disastrous race.
Whincup's troubles started with a very slow start from pole, which left him down in eighth initially as front row qualifier Jonathon Webb stormed away in the lead.
Tekno driver Webb, who had delivered a career-best qualifying performance, was the only front-runner on soft tires for the first stint, so was able to pull out a huge lead as the regular protagonists battled spectacularly in his wake.
Lowndes ran fourth initially but making an early pit stop for softs on lap 11 proved to be a masterstroke. He jumped to the front of the queue chasing Webb, and quickly caught and passed the Tekno Holden once it was on hards.
With Webb dropping down the order thereafter, Lowndes managed to make his tires last to the end and kept Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom at arm's length to secure victory.
Winterbottom's second place moved him into the points lead as Whincup's day went further downhill. By the time the pit stops had all cycled through, the champion was back up to fourth and chasing Winterbottom's teammate Will Davison.
But Whincup then suffered a delaminating tire and had a nightmare final few laps trying to nurse the car home. He eventually fell right back to 23rd place.
A strong performance by Holden Racing Team saw Garth Tander and James Courtney battle through to fourth and sixth, split by hard-charging Walkinshaw driver Russell Ingall, who led for a while with a very long first stint on softs.
Qualifying stars Michael Caruso and Webb eventually slid back to eighth and ninth, behind Shane van Gisbergen, with Jason Bright rounding out the top 10.
Results - 36 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Craig Lowndes Triple 8 Holden 56m17.3122s
2. Mark Winterbottom FPR Ford + 1.4611s
3. Will Davison FPR Ford + 13.4500s
4. Garth Tander HRT Holden + 21.0360s
5. Russell Ingall Walkinshaw Holden + 21.2195s
6. James Courtney HRT Holden + 26.7308s
7. Shane van Gisbergen Stone Brothers Ford + 30.8694s
8. Michael Caruso Garry Rogers Holden + 32.0265s
9. Jonathon Webb Tekno Holden + 32.7730s
10. Jason Bright Brad Jones Holden + 32.9410s
11. Tony D'Alberto D'Alberto Ford + 35.8713s
12. Fabian Coulthard Brad Jones Holden + 36.1584s
13. David Reynolds Rod Nash/FPR Ford + 38.7223s
14. Todd Kelly Kelly Holden + 40.9855s
15. Michael Patrizi Tekno Holden + 47.6950s
16. Tim Slade Rosenberg/SBR Ford + 49.9326s
17. Rick Kelly Kelly Holden + 51.0568s
18. David Wall Britek/BJR Holden + 55.1999s
19. James Moffat Dick Johnson Ford + 1m02.5246s
20. Steve Owen Paul Morris/DJR Ford + 1m09.6493s
21. Taz Douglas Dumbrell Holden + 1m12.9488s
22. Karl Reindler Kelly Holden + 1m14.5091s
23. Jamie Whincup Triple 8 Holden + 1m19.7271s
24. Jacques Villeneuve Kelly Holden + 1m28.4113s
25. Dean Fiore Triple F/DJR Ford + 1 lap
26. Lee Holdsworth Stone Brothers Ford + 1 lap
27. Steven Johnson Dick Johnson Ford + 1 lap
28. Alexandre Premat Garry Rogers Holden + 2 laps