Craig Lowndes has clawed back 27 points in the Championship fight after winning the first 60km sprint at the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint.
The Red Bull racer led teammate Jamie Whincup home by 1.0388sec after getting the jump at the start, with Volvo's Scott McLaughlin third behind the Holden Commodores.
The win is Lowndes' 10th at Phillip Island, breaking the record he shared with Mark Skaife, and earning his first victory since the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 last month.
"I think we had to get a good start, we knew Scotty was going to be fast, Jamie was going to be fast and I'm a bit thankful it was Jamie behind me," Lowndes said.
Rick Kelly speared off on the first lap and managed to re-join safely, but it was other Championship contender David Reynolds who had a wild ride after a tap with Shane van Gisbergen. Coming into 'the hayshed' on the second lap, Reynolds was on the grass spinning, and dropped to the back of the order. The incident will be investigated post-race.
Meanwhile points leader Mark Winterbottom managed seventh overall after the team changed an engine in his Pepsi Max Falcon after qualifying.
Todd Kelly and Tim Slade had a spirited fight for 10th position while the Red Bulls led out the front.
Lowndes now moves into second position in the Championship, 213 behind Winterbottom, with Reynolds now 272 adrift.