V8 Supercars' form outfit TeamVodafone outsmarted the field once again although this time Championship leader Jamie Whincup proved beatable, at least by his team-mate Craig Lowndes, at Winton.
The addition of the 'soft' option Dunlop Sport Maxx Sprint tyre produced the race of the year and came down to who got it exactly right and when. Today that was Whincup's team-mate Craig Lowndes, Whincup himself and Ford Performance Racing's Steven Richards.
Richards called it a weekend that made for 'a lot of bald engineers' who had to work out exactly what was the winning formula. No matter the result the Dunlop option tyre certainly turned the short 100km race on its head.
It started with Whincup using the soft tyre and Lowndes not. Then Whincup pitted on lap one without having crossed the start finish line and took fuel.
A slightly different strategy came from Garry Rogers Motorsport's Michael Caruso who cleared out by 10 seconds early only to get swallowed up by the field towards the end.
It seemed everybody had a variation on a theme. There were plenty of admirable drives, none the least from Toll Holden Racing Team's Will Davison who went from 22nd to seventh and WOW Racing's Cameron McConville from 12th to fifth.
“You just had to keep an eye on who was on that option tyre because there was no way you were going to hold them up,” Lowndes explained. “The closing speed between the two tyres was so great that you just had to be aware of who was on what.
“The extra grip you had mid corner was so strong you could just monster people in the corners. Normally it takes you about five laps to make up 100 metres but here it took about 20 metres.”
Whincup was beaten for the first time in five races this year but still holds a commanding lead in the V8 Supercar Championship Series. He said the soft tyre option was a great initiative to the sport, even though he was confused at what was going on around him.