A two-tyre strategy nearly didn’t pay dividends for Race 18 winner Chaz Mostert in the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown finale.
The Walkinshaw Andretti United driver denied Anton De Pasquale to claim his fourth victory of the season.
WAU brought Mostert in on lap 9 of 38 and fitted him with two rear tyres, with many of the key players opting for three or four.
The gamble to undercut his rivals seemed to matter to nothing when a late Safety Car was called.
However, Mostert was able to hold a charging De Pasquale on fresher tyres in a thrilling chase to the flag.
It marked a remarkable turnaround for the Clayton-based team after Mostert was disqualified from Race 16.
“You’ve got to be aggressive in these sprint races if you want to try and be able to get a trophy or a didgeridoo this weekend,” Mostert said.
“I didn't think we'd win the race doing what we did.
“I would have thought more people would have followed me into cover me off, but they let me do my own race and, then I trucked along with reasonably good pace.
“But I was only just able to hang on in the end.
“I don't know if we had another race, I'm sure other guys would probably do the same thing."
Mostert said the laps behind the Safety Car enabled him to save his tyres, giving him hope of holding on.
“But we went to the right limit of doing it. I think the Safety Car also saved me," Mostert said.
“Looking at the mirror, watching Anton track me down, obviously I got a few laps to bring the tyres back a little bit and was able to get them back.
“But I think the race panned out in our way even though it looked like it wasn't supposed to.”
At the restart on lap 30, Mostert led the bunched top four with De Pasquale second.
Will Davison sat in third with a charging Shane van Gisbergen in fourth.
Van Gisbergen made contact with Davison while trying to go down the inside at Turn 1.
The contact resulted in power steering damage to van Gisbergen's #97 Red Bull Ampol Commodore.
It dropped the championship leader out of contention, and he was later handed a 15-second penalty.
The 2022 season will resume at the NTI Townsville 500 next month.
Tickets for the NTI Townsville 500 are on sale now.