Holden star Craig Lowndes has rocketed back into Supercars title contention with a dominant display on Sunday at Queensland Raceway.
The Team Vortex veteran fired past championship leader Jamie Whincup on the line of the 200km race in Ipswich before charging unchallenged to his 12th win at the venue.
No other driver has won more than five races at the 3.12km circuit.
The 42-year-old Lowndes’ victory – his second of the year – puts him 150 points behind Whincup (1821) in the championship standings with Shane Van Gisbergen (1711) and Mark Winterbottom (1701) sandwiched between the pair.
It also takes him level with Mark Skaife on 80 wins for Holden – the most by a driver for the manufacturer.
This is the 17th season since Lowndes won the last of his three championship titles.
Lowndes dismissed the suggestion the 2016 championship race was turning into a two-man race between Whincup and Van Gisbergen.
“There’s probably a blanket between four or five cars up the front,” Lowndes said.
“There’s still a lot of racing to be done … what we need to do is be more consistent.”
Whincup completed a pair of runner-up finishes for the weekend to extend his championship lead over Van Gisbergen to 110 points.
Van Gisbergen made a snap decision to pit when he felt an error by Ford’s Scott Pye might spark a safety car midway through the race.
But Pye rejoined the circuit, leaving Van Gisbergen stuck in the middle of the field before an eventual 12th place finish.
Whincup said second was the best he could hope for despite starting on pole.
“Lowndesy’s was a rocket, he had better tyres as well,” he said.
“We maximised it, ran second.”
Ford’s Chaz Mostert came third on the back of a strategy play by his team, passing teammate Winterbottom and Nissan’s Michael Caruso in the dying stages to secure a podium finish.
Defending champion Winterbottom finished fifth and is 120 points behind Whincup in the title standings.
The Supercars’ next stop is the Sydney Motorsport Park SuperSprint from August 26 to 28.