Jamie Whincup pulled clear at the top of the all-time ATCC/Supercars race win tally after coming out on top in the 200km finale to the Red Rooster SuperSprint.
Whincup scored his 106th career win in a race where fuel and tyre strategy made for a thrilling contest among the five championship contenders.
A delicate equation saw Shane van Gisbergen let team-mate Whincup through with 10 laps to go due to an impending threat from Ford drivers Scott McLaughlin, Fabian Coulthard and Chaz Mostert.
In the end Whincup led home Coulthard, van Gisbergen, McLaughlin and Mostert, allowing Whincup to go one ahead of Craig Lowndes on the all-time win list.
Race 18 result | championship points.
“Thanks to my team-mate, we look after each other here at Red Bull,” smiled Whincup, who is now just 12 points behind McLaughlin, having entered the weekend 129 behind.
“The only problem (with the record) is that Lowndesy will out-drive me, he’ll still be around for another 10 years at least!”
Mostert had stormed into the lead off the start as, for the second day in a row, pole-sitter McLaughlin made a poor getaway and dropped to fifth.
Whincup, van Gisbergen, Coulthard and McLaughlin ran second through fifth in the early laps before, stuck behind his team-mate, the Shell team pitted McLaughlin on lap nine.
Whincup was the second in a lap later, only to see the Safety Car called almost immediately due to debris from a blown Rick Kelly tyre.
That triggered the remainder of the pack into pitlane – Mostert rejoining behind Whincup thanks to a longer fuel fill.
Differences in fuel loads scrambled the order – Whincup leading Mostert, McLaughlin, van Gisbergen and Coulthard through the middle stages.
Needing to pull time on Van Gisbergen in order to make-up for a fuel deficit, Whincup then charged away at the front of the pack.
Van Gisbergen overtook McLaughlin on lap 27 before the pair immediately pitted, kicking off the second stops among the front-runners.
Whincup was in two laps later and narrowly rejoined ahead of his team-mate, only to lock up and run wide at turn 2, surrendering the place.
Mostert and Coulthard waited until lap 34 to take their final stops – the Shell Ford needing less fuel and emerging ahead, albeit 15 seconds adrift of leader van Gisbergen.
The reigning champion had enough on his plate with Whincup, who once in a rhythm appeared quicker than his team-mate, and McLaughlin, who was only 3s from the lead.
With Coulthard and Mostert quickly closing down the three leaders on their fresher tyres, Van Gisbergen eventually let Whincup through with 10 laps to go.
Coulthard was the big mover, passing McLaughlin before harassing Van Gisbergen in an intense four-car battle that also involved Mostert.
Coulthard eventually made a move stick into turn 7 with three laps to go, but by that point Whincup was already 10 seconds down the road.
McLaughlin briefly made it through on van Gisbergen a lap later, but the Red Bull Holden completed a deft switch-back and, after another two instense laps, held onto third by 0.1s.
Mostert failed to move any higher than fifth while Nick Percat also closed in on the leaders in the final laps and secured a fine sixth for Brad Jones Racing.
Michael Caruso, Jason Bright, David Reynolds – who recovered from an early tyre failure – and Todd Kelly completed the top 10.
It was a tough day for Lowndes, who was last after spending 13 laps in the garage with an engine problem.
Alex Rullo and Cameron Waters were the race’s only retirements, both out after tangle at turn 4 following the Safety Car restart.