A late overtake on teammate Jamie Whincup helped lift Shane van Gisbergen to victory in the first Supercars race of the weekend in Townsville.
The Kiwi has won three races in a row and has now won nine of the 15 races this season, firmly emphasising his status as title favourite.
Van Gisbergen initially dropped a spot off the line to Whincup, with the two front-row starters trading placings on the run into turn one.
After the opening lap scuffles unfolded, the field quickly settled into proceedings for the 250km affair.
However, it was immediately apparent that the rest of the field would be playing catch up with the Red Bull duo.
Within a few laps, Whincup had built a healthy lead over the rest of the top five.
It meant pitstops would be a crucial factor in making or breaking time, and with two stops per driver in this race, strategy would also play an important role.
Red Bull split their strategies and opted to put more fuel in van Gisbergen’s car during his first stop while going for a slightly shorter first stop for Whincup.
The gamble nearly didn’t pay off for van Gisbergen, though, and Ford’s Anton de Pasquale undercut him after the first round of stops.
However, van Gisbergen soon got back ahead of the Mustang and began reeling in Whincup as the laps ticked down towards everyone’s second stop.
With van Gisbergen able to extend his middle stint courtesy of a long first fuel stop, he could re-join the race behind his teammate with fresher rubber and a small margin to chase.
After picking through the lapped traffic separating him from Whincup, van Gisbergen made his lunge for the lead into turn 11.
“I knew I had one shot to do it before the tyres were cooked, and I got him,” van Gisbergen said. “Real cool.”
Whincup finished seven seconds behind van Gisbergen, while de Pasquale rounded out the podium but was a mammoth 30 seconds adrift.
Nick Percat was a lonely fourth ahead of David Reynolds, who had to resist some late pressure from Tim Slade.
James Courtney and Cam Waters were seventh and eighth, while a late dash for fuel dropped Will Davison to ninth.
Mark Winterbottom rounded out the top ten.
Andre Heimgartner came home 12th, while Fabian Coulthard’s disappointing day continued when he experienced a mechanical issue on the formation lap and eventually finished six laps down.