Triple Eight veteran Craig Lowndes broke decades’ worth of droughts on his way to saluting at Symmons Plains.
The 44-year-old recorded his first pole since August 2015 by laying down an exceptional 50.5790 in Qualifier 3, and followed it up by wrapping up his first race win since July 2016.
The result marked Lowndes’ eighth race win at Symmons Plains and his first round win there since 1998, having also won in 1996.
“It’s a great relief for me,” Lowndes said after the race.
“As race drivers you always need to drive with confidence and belief but until you win races and do things... you’re not knocked out, but it’s always disappointing.
“It’s been a long drought for us but it’s great for the team.”
The three-time Supercars champion rolled back the clock by finishing second in Saturday’s 50-lap race and looked every bit as focused on Sunday, taking control of the race from the front of the grid and never letting go.
At 50 laps down Lowndes could have given up control when exiting the pit lane, but managed to beat Jamie Whincup back onto the circuit and drop in front of second-place finisher Scott McLaughlin.
Despite some late drops of rain the remaining 34 laps came as a formality, with Lowndes briefly celebrating on the roof of his Holden Commodore before taking to the podium.
Whincup’s third-place finish capped off a dramatic weekend for Triple Eight, with the seven-time champion jumping from sixth spot on Friday to claim an 11-point buffer on McLaughlin and Erebus driver David Reynolds.
Whincup assumed the vacated mantle of teammate Shane van Gisbergen, whose throttle issues paved the way for a drop from second on the grid to a 25th-place finish.
The result saw the New Zealander drop from first to fifth on the points table, but Whincup insisted neither he nor his teammate was worried about points this early in the year.
“(It means) nothing,” Whincup said.
“You just go out and try to win as many races as you can and the points look after themselves.
“It’s not good being out of contention but within a couple of hundred points is fine, so there’s no change.”
Tekno Autosports’ Jack Le Brocq put in another stellar effort on Sunday, qualifying fifth-fastest and holding on to his spot to claim one of the best Supercars results to date.
The effort saw the 25-year-old jump 42 points clear of Anton de Pasquale and take the title of leading rookie into Phillip Island.
Tickford’s Richie Stanaway had no such luck, capping off a frustrating weekend when wheel damage forced him to retire from the race after just a few minutes.