The Red Bull Racing Holdens had very different Sandown 500s but both moved backwards in a race to forget for the V8 Supercars champion team.
Jamie Whincup was shattered after a race that began with such promise and was wrecked by a tyre puncture, while Craig Lowndes would bemoan his own qualifying mistake that cruelled his chances in Sunday’s race.
Both finished mid-pack, with Whincup and co-driver Paul Dumbrell ending up 15th and Lowndes taking 13th with his partner Steven Richards.
And both suffered major blows to their championship hopes, with the title seemingly headed to Prodrive Racing, which took a one-two result at the Melbourne circuit.
Whincup now sits eighth in the championship owing to a rogue bolt in pit-lane.
The four-time reigning champion was in control of the race, having led for almost all of the 111 laps to that point, before suffering the puncture on his way out of the pits.
After holding off the rampaging Falcons for so long, it was a tough way to concede the lead.
“It was a big stint, 100 laps around this joint, so I’m pretty wrecked,” Whincup said.
“Today just demonstrates what a cruel game we play to not get the reward for what we deserved.
“We gave it everything and we’ll come back stronger next time.”
Watching on in the team garage, Dumbrell rued the fact that a third-straight Sandown victory had gone begging.
“It hasn’t gone to plan but what do you do? We’ve had luck the last couple of years but not today,” Dumbrell said.
Lowndes slipped from third to fourth in the championship, with a 423-point gulf to leader Mark Winterbottom.
He at least enjoyed a profitable Sunday, after copping a penalty during qualifying for reckless driving.
From their 23rd position, car No.888 improved ten places and Lowndes credited his team strategists.
“Where we started it was always going to be an uphill battle, but the guys called some great strategies,” Lowndes said.
“To be out of sync for most of the race and then to put us back in right at the end was a stroke of genius.
“It got us out of the pack when we were struggling with traffic and on our own we had good pace.”