Craig Lowndes has taken the race win but his V8 Supercars title rival Mark Winterbottom has more to celebrate after a tense battle on Phillip Island.
In their two-way championship fight, Lowndes did his job by claiming an 11th career win at the coastal circuit on Sunday.
However, Winterbottom’s fourth place represented a resounding mission accomplished, acceptably minimising the loss to his huge championship lead.
The career Ford man arrived at the meet 240 points clear of Lowndes and departs 179 points ahead.
The lead assures Winterbottom a maiden title if he can finish in the top 14 of each race at next month’s season-ending Sydney 500.
Jamie Whincup’s last-lap divebomb for third place meant Winterbottom’s streak of eight races without a podium continues but he said was comfortable with his position heading to Sydney.
“We’ve still got a good lead. Those (Red Bull) boys are quite quick so we’ve still got some work to do,” he said.
“I’m cool with (Whincup’s) move, I think it was alright.”
Wedged between the two Red Bull drivers on Sunday was Scott McLaughlin in second.
The trio locked out the podiums for all three races on Phillip Island.
Lowndes claimed two wins on his best circuit on tour and is refusing to concede the title.
“We’re still a chance … it’s a championship for Frosty to lose,” he said.
“With a 179-point lead, if he drives smart and clean and stays out of trouble, he should have enough points gap to walk away with that No.1.
“We won’t stop fighting until that chequered flag on Sunday.”
Whincup defended his late pass, which could have brought a dramatic end to Winterbottom’s race.
“It’s motor racing,” he said.
“No one paid $50 to come in today to see cars circulating … it was a fair move down the inside.”
The move keeps up Red Bull Racing’s red hot momentum for the teams championship.
Roland Dane’s team have now won five of the past six races and sit just 71 points behind Prodrive Racing.
Sunday’s 200km race also ended the faint title hopes of David Reynolds, whose 10th-placed finish puts him further adrift than the maximum 300 points on offer at the Sydney 500.
V8 SUPERCARS STANDINGS
1. Craig Lowndes (Holden)
2. Scott McLaughlin (Volvo)
3. Jamie Whincup (Holden)
4. Mark Winterbottom (Ford)
5. Todd Kelly (Nissan)
DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER 33 RACES
1. Mark Winterbottom (Ford) – 3007
2. Craig Lowndes (Holden) – 2828
3. David Reynolds (Ford) – 2688
4. Garth Tander (Holden) – 2459
5. Shane Van Gisbergen (Holden) – 2442
TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER 33 RACES
1. Prodrive Racing (Ford) – 5293
2. Red Bull Racing (Holden) – 5222
3. Holden Racing Team (Holden) – 4877
4. Team BOC/Freightliner (Holden) – 4013
5. Jack Daniel’s Racing (Nissan) – 3466