Bubbles galore ... Craig Lowndes, left, and Jamie Whincup celebrate their one-two finish in the V8 Supercars championship on Sunday. Photo: Getty Images
It was redemption of sorts for both Ford's Will Davison and Holden's James Courtney at the Sydney 500 on Sunday, although their returns to form were overshadowed by Jamie Whincup's long-awaited celebration of his fourth V8 Supercars championship.
Davison, who until the middle of the season was a serious threat to Whincup's defence of the title, ended a long run of errors and bad luck to dominate the final race of the year in his Ford Performance Racing Falcon.
He led at the start from second on the grid of the 74-lap, 250 kilometre Sydney Olympic Park street race event, and was never headed.
For Courtney, his second podium in the weekend's twin torture tests around the brutal 3.42 km street circuit was a breakthrough for the beleaguered Holden Racing Team, which did not win a race for the first time in 20 years.
A beaming Craig Lowndes came second to finish runner-up in the championship to his Triple Eight Holden teammate Whincup, who started 24th in the 28-car field after crashing in qualifying.
By triggering the stoppage, Whincup incurred the automatic penalty of having his fastest lap time excluded, relegating him to the third-last row of the grid.
But he did battle his way through to fifth at the end of the remarkably carnage-free race, finishing just 24.5 seconds behind Davison.
"It was an unbelievable feeling standing up there on the podium as the champion," Whincup said. "It's been an intense battle all year. Just because Triple Eight and FPR won all the races, it definitely hasn't been boring.
"Every race was just so intense that this [championship] feels like the best, although I don't want to disrespect the other three. But it's been the toughest one to win."