Reigning V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup returns to form at the Pukekohe Raceway after clinching his first victory since Sydney earlier in the season.

Whincup made a textbook getaway ahead of David Reynolds and made his advantage count from starting on pole position. While Reynolds somehow kept a feisty Shane Van Gisbergen at bay, the reigning champion quickly assembled a one-second margin back to the chasing pack.

However, an unspectacular third lap from the reigning six-time champion allowed the Prodrive Ford of Reynolds to trim Whincup's lead to barely three-tenths.

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A subsequent safety car period - needed to assist the marshals in retrieving a plethora of debris from opening lap contact - bunched the field that much further with two-thirds of the race left to run.

Whincup successfully retained his lead at the restart but the Red Bull Holden almost opened the door for Reynolds with a wide line into turn four hairpin.

As Reynolds attempted to pounce, the title protagonist locked up on the apex of the corner, which allowed Van Gisbergen to sail past into second.

While Van Gisbergen and Reynolds continued to dispute second position, that allowed Whincup to pull away to the tune of almost five-seconds by the end of the 21-lap sprint race.

Van Gisbergen held onto second ahead of The Bottle-O Falcon FG X of Reynolds, who - along with Triple Eight's Craig Lowndes - made further inroads on championship leader Mark Winterbottom.

Lowndes may well inherit yet further points in his favour pending on whether the race officials decide to penalise Scott Pye for running off the road and keeping his fourth place ahead of the Holden driver.

DJR Team Penske's Pye came under increasing pressure from Lowndes towards the end of the race and locked his brakes before taking to the escape route during the final laps.

The lead Nissan Altima of Michael Caruso in sixth took further championship points away from the Pepsi Max Ford of Winterbottom in seventh while James Courtney, Scott McLaughlin and Garth Tander completed the top-ten.