Shane van Gisbergen dominated the opening race of Supercars' Newcastle 500 weekend, as a late mistake from Jamie Whincup cost Triple Eight a 1-2 finish.
Van Gisbergen executed a perfect drive from pole, running deep into the first two stints before emerging with a healthy advantage for the run to the flag.
The race was almost a Triple Eight walkover, too, with only a Whincup error preventing the factory Holden squad dominating the podium.
Instead it was DJR Team Penske that ended up with two drivers in the top three - and one hand on the teams' title - with Scott McLaughlin second and Fabian Coulthard third.
The race started perfectly for the two Red Bull Holdens, as van Gisbergen forced McLaughlin just wide enough into Turn 1 to give Whincup a run into Turn 2.
With Whincup as rear gunner and few passing opportunities anyway, leader van Gisbergen was in no hurry as the race settled into its first stint.
McLaughlin did not stay bottled up behind the Red Bulls for long, the Penske driver pitting on lap seven before resuming in clear air.
The extreme undercut meant McLaughlin jumped Whincup when the latter stopped on lap 16, the Mustang initially holding a four-second advantage. That was swiftly cut to nothing, though, with Whincup parked under McLaughlin's rear wing for the second stint.
McLaughlin became the effective leader a third of the way through the race on lap 32, van Gisbergen dropping behind both him and Whincup after finally making his first stop.
With Whincup unable to find a way past McLaughlin, the seven-time champion let his team-mate through on lap 44 to have a go. Van Gisbergen could not get it done either, though, and McLaughlin retained the lead until making his second stop just after mid-distance on lap 50.
Whincup covered McLaughlin off a lap later, using his fuel advantage from the opening stop to emerge well clear of the Penske Ford.
The Triple Eight 1-2 was then restored when van Gisbergen made his second stop on lap 64, emerging with four seconds over Whincup and almost nine over McLaughlin.
The factory Holdens looked set to cruise to the finish in that order, which would have slashed DJR Team Penske's advantage in the teams' championship to just 77 points.
But that was dashed by a costly mistake by Whincup 20 laps form the finish, a trip down the Turn 7 escape road dumping him back to seventh.
That helped McLaughlin back into second, although he had no answer for runaway leader van Gisbergen, the gap 10s at the finish.
Whincup's mistake promoted Coulthard to third, his first podium finish since July's Townsville round. Having both drivers on the podium also swung the teams' title fight well into Penske's favour, the gap now 143 points with just one race to go.
David Reynolds finished fourth ahead of Cam Waters, while Scott Pye was the star of the race with a remarkable charge from the very back of the grid to finish sixth.
The Walkinshaw Andretti United driver started at the back thanks to a qualifying crash on Saturday, his recovery including impressive moves on the likes of Whincup and team-mate James Courtney in the closing stages of the race.
Whincup could not find a way past Courtney and had to settle for eighth, while fellow Holden drivers Tim Slade and Mark Winterbottom completed the top 10.
Result - 95 laps
|1||Shane van Gisbergen||Triple Eight||Holden||1h55m11.9747s|
|2||Scott McLaughlin||DJR Penske||Ford||10.5269s|
|3||Fabian Coulthard||DJR Penske||Ford||12.8301s|
|8||Jamie Whincup||Triple Eight||Holden||29.9188s|
|9||Tim Slade||Brad Jones||Holden||30.6526s|
|14||Nick Percat||Brad Jones||Holden||1m00.9419s|
|15||Will Davison||23Red Racing||Ford||1m02.6162s|
|18||Todd Hazelwood||Matt Stone||Holden||1 Lap|
|19||Simona de Silvestro||Kelly||Nissan||1 Lap|
|20||Garry Jacobson||Kelly||Nissan||1 Lap|
|21||Andre Heimgartner||Kelly||Nissan||1 Lap|
|22||James Golding||GRM||Holden||1 Lap|
|23||Anton De Pasquale||Erebus||Holden||4 Laps|
|-||Jack Le Brocq||Tekno||Holden||Retirement|