Mark Winterbottom held off Shane van Gisbergen in a thrilling finish to the Skycity Triple Crown in Darwin.
As expected the 200km race was dominated by tyre strategy.
Despite just two sets of soft tyres being allocated for the race, Winterbottom was one of several to run all three stints on the soft compound.
Van Gisbergen and eventual third place finisher Jamie Whincup ran the more conventional hard-soft-soft option, ensuring they were quicker than the Ford driver for much of the last stint.
Van Gisbergen overtook Whincup with six laps remaining and closed to the bumper of Winterbottom on the last corner, but did not have enough to steal the win.
“That’s an incredible race, it’s great to have those different format races,” said Winterbottom afterward.
“The car felt great initially on the softs, but we had to re-use a set bring it home.
“Shane was coming but that was awesome. I’m so happy we won; it’s a good way to bounce back from yesterday.
“It was about turning today into something special. I reckon that was one of the best wins I’ve had with this team.”
David Reynolds and James Courtney followed Winterbottom’s strategy to take fourth and fifth respectively, while Garth Tander, James Moffat, Scott McLaughlin, Rick Kelly and Russell Ingall completed the top 10.
The result came despite a Safety Car negating much of Winterbottom’s early advantage over those that started on the hard tyres.
Pole-sitter Craig Lowndes finished just 17th after copping a puncture in mid-race contact with Winterbottom’s team-mate Chaz Mostert.
The Safety Car had been required when Robert Dahlgren suffered a stuck throttle in his Volvo.
The Swede was able to spin the car to a stop in the Turn 5 run-off, swiping the rear wing from his S60 against the tyre wall in the process.
Todd Kelly joined Dahlgren on the retirements list after his right-rear suspension was damaged in a three-wide squeeze with Lee Holdsworth and David Wall at the Turn 6 hairpin.
Tim Slade, Jason Bright, Jack Perkins, Fabian Coulthard and Nick Percat finished 19th through 22nd after suffering from a variety of pit issues.
Winterbottom now leads the standings by 161 points over Lowndes heading to the Castrol Townsville 500 in two weeks time.
Race 19 Results
|1||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||69||1:27:20.3007|
|2||Team Tekno VIP Petfoods||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||69||1:27:20.8353|
|3||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||69||1:27:25.7906|
|4||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||69||1:27:31.1711|
|5||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||69||1:27:35.1254|
|6||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||69||1:27:37.6543|
|7||Norton Hornets||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||69||1:27:38.3319|
|8||Valvoline Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||69||1:27:47.4749|
|9||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||69||1:27:50.6592|
|10||Repair Management Aust Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VF||69||1:27:54.7553|
|11||Team Advam/GB||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||69||1:27:55.6385|
|12||Erebus Motorsport V8||Lee Holdsworth||Mercedes E63 AMG||69||1:27:59.2714|
|13||Norton Hornets||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||69||1:27:59.9817|
|14||Wilson Security Racing||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG||69||1:28:01.1253|
|15||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG||69||1:28:08.5271|
|16||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Mercedes E63 AMG||69||1:28:10.4650|
|17||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||69||1:28:10.9733|
|18||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Ford Falcon FG||69||1:28:19.0649|
|19||Supercheap Auto Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||69||1:28:26.8042|
|20||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||68||1:28:29.6062|
|21||Team JELD-WEN||Jack Perkins||Ford Falcon FG||67||1:27:28.2996|
|22||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||67||1:27:29.6130|
|22||Walkinshaw Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||65||1:27:36.9138|
|DNF||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||35||46:03.8638|
|DNF||Valvoline Racing GRM||Robert Dahlgren||Volvo S60||22||28:08.7370|
Championship Points after Race 19
|6||Shane van Gisbergen||1111|