David Reynolds inherited a win and second place in the V8 Supercars Championship after a spectacular tyre failure for Craig Lowndes in Race 29.
Lowndes swept around the outside of pole-sitter Reynolds to take the lead into Turn 1 and held a near one second advantage halfway through the 21 lap sprint.
The left-rear tyre on the Red Bull Holden then let go in spectacular fashion at the end of the front straight on lap 12.
The failure sent Lowndes spinning down the road at more than 200km/h before the Red Bull Holden made sizeable left-side contact with the concrete wall.
Lowndes emerged from the car unscathed, but his title hopes have taken a major blow as leader Mark Winterbottom banked solid points in fourth.
The incident occurred in the first V8 Supercars race at Pukekohe to feature the soft tyre, which teams had completed just a single qualifying run on prior to the start.
“I was coming down the main straight and then all of a suddenly it just exploded,” recounted Lowndes.
“I tried to get the nose back to bring it down the road but I couldn’t and we ended up being drawn towards the armco and the wall.
“I’m fine but I am a bit annoyed because I am trying to break the hoodoo of this place,” he added, having yet to win at the Auckland venue.
Reynolds still had to earn his victory after the Safety Car for Lowndes’ crash, fending off a determined Jamie Whincup in the closing stages.
Whincup had a lunge into the hairpin on the penultimate lap, drawing alongside Reynolds before proving unable to make the move stick.
Scott McLaughlin held up the Kiwi honour in third, finishing on the bumper of Whincup.
Shane van Gisbergen charged from 13th to fifth ahead of James Courtney, Tim Slade, Scott Pye, Fabian Coulthard and Garth Tander.
Nick Percat finished 20th after an early drive-through penalty for failing to concede a place to Michael Caruso following instruction from race control.
Percat had been deemed to gain an advantage when he was bumped wide at Turn 1 on the opening lap.
There were just 24 starters after engine failure for Jason Bright in the opening heat left him on the sidelines.
Result: V8 Supercars ITM 500 Auckland Race 29
|1||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG/X||21||26:37.9563|
|2||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||21||26:38.4594|
|3||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||21||26:38.8269|
|4||Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||21||26:39.5227|
|5||Team Darrell Lea STIX||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||21||26:39.8694|
|6||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||21||26:40.3910|
|7||Supercheap Auto Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||21||26:41.7068|
|8||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG/X||21||26:42.6002|
|9||Freightliner Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||21||26:43.5753|
|10||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||21||26:44.1939|
|11||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||21||26:45.6179|
|12||Pepsi Max Crew||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||21||26:45.8465|
|13||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Mercedes E63 AMG||21||26:46.3207|
|14||Nissan Motorsport||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||21||26:47.1216|
|15||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||21||26:47.7026|
|16||Walkinshaw Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||21||26:48.6053|
|17||Nissan Motorsport||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||21||26:49.4324|
|18||Super Black Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Falcon FG/X||21||26:50.0533|
|19||GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||21||26:52.9372|
|20||Repair Management Aust Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||21||26:53.1337|
|21||Erebus Motorsport V8||Ashley Walsh||Mercedes E63 AMG||21||26:53.2643|
|22||Wilson Security Racing GRM||David Wall||Volvo S60||21||26:53.6336|
|23||Team Cooldrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||21||26:54.4381|
|DNF||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||11||11:44.5966|
|5||Shane van Gisbergen||2185|
|50||Jack Le Brocq||144|
|54||Simona de Silvestro||84|