Jamie Whincup secured a fifth V8 Supercars championship with third place in the Sydney finale, which was won by Shane van Gisbergen.
Following Saturday’s dramas, Whincup had a commanding 110-point margin over Triple Eight teammate Craig Lowndes coming into the decider.
That did not stop Whincup doing his utmost to win the race. Having qualified fourth, he led by the end of the first pit sequence as his tactic of pitting early proved more successful than polesitter and early leader van Gisbergen’s strategy of running longer.
While Whincup pitted both during a mid-race safety car, then again for a top-up as soon as it was possible to get to the finish without stopping again, van Gisbergen stayed out during the caution, ran long once more then emerged side by side with Whincup.
On cold tires, the Tekno Holden lost out on the exit of Turn 1, but van Gisbergen dived back past next time around. That left van Gisbergen and Whincup behind Jason Bright and David Reynolds, whose totally different strategies paid off beautifully with the timing of safety cars.
Reynolds was quickly pushed back after the final restart, but Bright doggedly held on in the lead as he conserved fuel to make it to the end following an early final stop.
Van Gisbergen finally made it back into the lead with 10 laps to go. Whincup tried to follow him, only to clash with Bright at the final corner, sending both sideways. Bright then repassed Whincup into Turn 1, and the latter subsequently played it safe in third as van Gisbergen ran away to claim victory.
Reynolds retained fourth, with fifth the best Lowndes could manage. He was followed home by fellow defeated title contenders Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison.
Russell Ingall came from 24th on the grid to 10th in his V8 Supercars farewell, chasing Alex Davison and Chaz Mostert to the flag.
Results - 74 laps:Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Shane van Gisbergen Tekno Holden 1h58m09.0327s 2. Jason Bright Brad Jones Holden +1.9465s 3. Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Holden +2.5122s 4. David Reynolds Rod Nash/FPR Ford +2.8321s 5. Craig Lowndes Triple Eight Holden +3.6775s 6. Mark Winterbottom FPR Ford +4.2235s 7. Will Davison FPR Ford +7.3858s 8. Alex Davison Schwerkolt/FPR Ford +8.2434s 9. Chaz Mostert Dick Johnson Ford +8.4291s10. Russell Ingall Walkinshaw/HRT Holden +8.9082s11. Tim Slade Rosenberg/Erebus Mercedes +9.4868s12. Scott McLaughlin Garry Rogers Holden +11.9462s13. Lee Holdsworth Erebus Mercedes +13.1508s14. Tony D'Alberto D'Alberto Holden +16.4725s15. Fabian Coulthard Brad Jones Holden +17.0365s16. Alexandre Premat Garry Rogers Holden +18.8251s17. Todd Kelly Nissan +19.4015s18. Rick Kelly Nissan +20.4206s19. Michael Caruso Nissan +24.6617s20. Maro Engel Erebus Mercedes +32.5505s21. Dean Fiore Dumbrell Holden +1m14.0584s22. David Wall Britek/BJR Holden +1 lap23. Jonathon Webb Tekno Holden +8 laps24. Nick Percat HRT Holden +11 lapsRetirements: Scott Pye Dumbrell Holden 58 laps Tim Blanchard Dick Johnson Ford 53 laps Garth Tander HRT Holden 39 laps James Moffat Nissan 30 laps