V8 champion Jamie Whincup has tightened his grip on this year's title with a hard-fought victory in the Sandown 500, combining with co-driver Paul Dumbrell to take out the first of this year's endurance racing classics in the Triple Eight Racing Commodore.
They hit the front 10 laps from home to finish ahead of teammates Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff in the second of the Triple Eight Holdens, continuing Lowndes extraordinary record in this event.
For the past nine years, when this race has been run at either Sandown or Phillip Island, Lowndes has finished on the podium.
It was also a fitting way for the team to celebrate its 10th anniversary in V8 Supercars.
Third car home was pole-sitter Will Davison and Steve Owen in the Ford Performance Racing Falcon, salvaging something from what had been a hugely frustrating afternoon for Davison.
His car had been delayed by a mix-up in pit lane when both his Falcon and the other FPR Ford of Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards came in for a stop at the same time, costing him any real chance of victory.
It had not been easy for the winning crew either, as they had fallen well down the field before Whincup mounted a late charge.
He took advantage of a Lowndes error near the finish of the 161-lap marathon for his second Sandown 500 triumph and Dumbrell's first. The victory allowed Whincup to extend his lead in the title race after an uncharacteristically poor return from the last round at Winton in country Victoria.
He now has a 96-point buffer, with 2147 points, over Lowndes (2051), with Davison just one point behind. Winterbottom is fourth in the standings with 1981. His race was ruined by a poor start from co-driver Richards, who stalled on the start line, but the pair recovered to finish sixth. Holden Racing Team's James Courtney is fifth on 1909 points.
Whincup paid tribute to the co-operation between both Triple Eight combinations, suggesting the victory was a ''Red Bull one-two'' rather than as just a victory for him and Dumbrell.
''Between the two cars we have never worked so closely. There were no team orders, we were here to put on a show and our best effort head-to-head.''
Still, Whincup believed his chances had gone early in the race. ''I thought it was definitely all over, so I put my head down to see how many spots we could make up. We had good pace today and that's what got us out of trouble.''
Lowndes said he had been running to try to conserve fuel, but when he made a mistake Whincup was able to run up on his inside.
''We were [then] told to bring it home,'' he said.
Davison admitted when he dropped well back that he thought his race had been ruined, while Owen said that with 40 laps to go he was getting changed to go to Melbourne airport.