V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup survived a last-lap collision with Mark Winterbottom to clam his first victory of the 2013 season in a spectacular second race at Pukekohe.
Polesitter Fabian Coulthard jumped the start and led the opening laps knowing that a 10-second penalty would be added to his race time. He did his utmost to make a break and mitigate the penalty's effect, but could not shake off the Triple 8 Holdens of Craig Lowndes and Whincup.
The latter soon slipped down the inside of Lowndes and stepped up his chase of Coulthard, whose cause was not helped by two safety cars. The first was triggered when Tim Slade's Mercedes spun to a halt broadside across the circuit.
Wild racing on the restart lap then ended with high-speed contact between Jason Bright and James Courtney. The latter spun, sending race one winner Scott McLaughlin flying off the road too, as Bright and Shane van Gisbergen bounced over the grass just ahead.
Once Courtney's car had been retrieved from the gravel, the race resumed. Whincup overtook Coulthard after a side by side dice that lasted several corners. Behind them, Winterbottom finally escaped from a seemingly endless wheel to wheel battle with his Ford Performance Racing teammate Will Davison. He then pressured Lowndes into a mistake, passed Coulthard and hunted down Whincup.
Going into the Turn 5 chicane on the last lap, Winterbottom dived down the inside, slid sideways and made contact with Whincup. While Winterbottom spun, Whincup slithered over the grass and continued to the flag unscathed bar a caved-in door.
Coulthard's second place on the road became 10th in the results, as Davison and Garth Tander completed the podium.
Bright and van Gisbergen got away with their excursions to finish fourth and sixth, sandwiching David Reynolds.
Seventh place for Rick Kelly was the best championship result for Nissan so far in its comeback.
Winterbottom got going again in 13th, with Lowndes and McLaughlin back in 16th and 24th after their adventures.
Results - 35 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Jamie Whincup Triple 8 Holden 42m32.8445s
2. Will Davison FPR Ford + 1.3500s
3. Garth Tander HRT Holden + 2.1626s
4. Jason Bright Brad Jones Holden + 3.3373s
5. David Reynolds Rod Nash/FPR Ford + 3.6342s
6. Shane van Gisbergen Tekno Holden + 5.1938s
7. Rick Kelly Nissan + 6.8299s
8. Alexandre Premat GRM Holden + 7.3011s
9. James Moffat Nissan + 8.1853s
10. Fabian Coulthard Brad Jones Holden + 10.6720s
11. Jonathon Webb Tekno Holden + 11.1319s
12. Michael Caruso Nissan + 13.0272s
13. Mark Winterbottom FPR Ford + 13.8391s
14. Russell Ingall Walkinshaw/HRT Holden + 14.3832s
15. Alex Davison Schwerkolt/FPR Ford + 14.5441s
16. Craig Lowndes Triple 8 Holden + 15.4807s
17. David Wall Britek/BJR Holden + 15.6600s
18. Todd Kelly Nissan + 16.6970s
19. Dean Fiore Dumbrell Holden + 18.6550s
20. Tony D'Alberto D'Alberto Holden + 18.8730s
21. Maro Engel Erebus Mercedes + 19.3174s
22. Jonny Reid DJR Ford + 19.4711s
23. Tim Blanchard DJR Ford + 19.7686s
24. Scott McLaughlin GRM Holden + 24.2791s
25. Lee Holdsworth Erebus Mercedes + 27.3767s
26. Tim Slade Rosenberg/Erebus Mercedes + 7 laps
James Courtney HRT Holden 18 laps