Mark Winterbottom finally scored his first ever Bathurst 1000 win, holding off Jamie Whincup in an amazing finish.
Going up the hill for the 161st and final time, Whincup had a run on the FPR Ford and pulled alongside. But on the dirty part of the track the rear of Whincup's Triple Eight Holden got loose and he was forced to back off and let Winterbottom go.
The victory for the works Ford team was its first since 1977.
Six hours earlier, it looked very different for Winterbottom as he made a good start from the front row before the car appeared to struggle as he selected second gear, which meant he was swamped by the chasing pack. In contrast, Whincup's teammate Paul Dumbrell made a perfect getaway and convincingly led the opening stages.
Two safety car periods – one for David Russell hitting the wall in the Nissan Altima he shared with Todd Kelly, the second for Greg Murphy crashing hard in the Walkinshaw Holden – threw the fuel strategy wide open. FPR played this to perfection and moved Winterbottom and teammate Steve Richards to the head of the field.
Behind the lead duo, there was an almighty fight for third. Initially Jason Bright had his Brad Jones Racing Holden in the fight for first, but his tires were the oldest and his mirrors were soon filled by Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander, whose tires were the freshest of all.
HRT driver Tander fought his way by Lowndes, but when he tried to divebomb Bright into The Chase, the wily Triple Eight racer took full advantage as they slithered wide to take both cars in one go.
Bright was furious with Tander for the move and briefly lost fifth to David Reynolds as he regained his composure. But Reynolds needed to make a splash-and-dash, dropping him down the order.
It was a great race from the wildcard Triple Eight entry of Mattias Ekstrom and Andy Priaulx, with both the DTM stars leading at one stage. They needed to pit in the closing stages just for a splash of fuel, which dropped them to 10th, but it was still a hugely impressive performance.
Results - 161 laps:
Pos Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Winterbottom/Richards FPR Ford 6h11m27.9320s
2. Whincup/Dumbrell Triple Eight Holden +0.4740s
3. Lowndes/Luff Triple Eight Holden +6.2360s
4. Tander/Percat HRT Holden +7.0950s
5. Bright/Jones Brad Jones Holden +14.1340s
6. Pye/Morris Dumbrell Holden +20.2540s
7. Davison/Owen FPR Ford +29.2650s
8. McLaughlin/Perkins Garry Rogers Holden +43.3410s
9. Reynolds/Canto Rod Nash/FPR Ford +46.0660s
10. Priaulx/Ekstrom Triple Eight Holden +48.2770s
11. Van Gisbergen/Bleekemolen Tekno Holden +50.4740s
12. Webb/Lieb Tekno Holden +50.8450s
13. Davison/McIntyre Schwerkolt/FPR Ford +51.1930s
14. Holdsworth/Baird Erebus Mercedes +54.1810s
15. Blanchard/Walsh Dick Johnson Ford +1m12.7340s
16. Coulthard/Youlden Brad Jones Holden +1m14.1230s
17. Ingall/Briscoe Walkinshaw/HRT Holden +1m35.3800s
18. Moffat/Douglas Nissan +1m41.7340s
19. Kelly/Reindler Nissan +1m43.6620s
20. Engel/Johnson Erebus Mercedes +1 lap
21. Mostert/Wood Dick Johnson Ford +5 laps
22. Wall/Pither Britek/BJR Holden +5 laps
23. Premat/Ritter Garry Rogers Holden +7 laps
24. D'Alberto/Reid D'Alberto Holden +12 laps
25. Caruso/Gaunt Nissan +14 laps
26. Slade/Thompson Rosenberg/Erebus Mercedes +24 laps
Fiore/Halliday Dumbrell Holden 145 laps
Courtney/Murphy HRT Holden 85 laps
Russell/Kelly Nissan 20 laps