Craig Lowndes denied Tim Slade victory in a wild first V8 Supercars race around Sydney's Homebush street track.
Amid extreme heat, multiple safety cars and plenty of incident, the event turned into a fuel economy run at the finish, with all the leaders nursing their cars to the flag. Lowndes and Triple 8 teammate Jamie Whincup had made rapid progress up the order from their 16th and 14th places on the grid.
When their final pit stops took place behind the safety car on lap 45 of 74, Whincup pulled over into a neutral area in the pitlane to allow Lowndes through to take his stop first. While Whincup has already secured the 2012 title, Lowndes is still in a close fight with Mark Winterbottom for the runner-up spot.
That put Lowndes in prime position to challenge polesitter Slade for the win, and he made it through on lap 62 when Slade made a small error. Slade was able to retain second, winning a late battle with James Courtney as the former champion had to back off dramatically to save fuel.
Having volunteered to queue behind Lowndes in the pits, Whincup came home fifth behind Jonathon Webb, who came from 24th on the grid to fourth.
Winterbottom tried a slightly different strategy as he recovered from 25th on the grid and could only finish ninth, leaving him three points behind Lowndes going into Sunday's season finale.
Incidents included Shane van Gisbergen retiring after contact with both Tony d'Alberto and the series' medical car on lap one, and second-row starters Steven Johnson and Alexandre Premat retiring with electrical issues and heat exhaustion respectively.