Kiwi driver Fabian Coulthard enjoyed an ideal dress rehearsal for next month's ITM400 at Pukekohe when he won both opening races at the V8 Supercars Challenge in Melbourne today.
While the event does not carry championship points, Coulthard nonetheless made the most of a strong qualifying performance to run clear with wins in both sprint races at the Albert Park circuit.
The Lockwood Racing Holden driver overtook rival Craig Lowndes with two laps remaining to claim the victory after the Red Bull Racing driver had stalked the New Zealander following the compulsory pit stops.
Coulthard's teammate Jason Bright was third to cap a podium double for the country team of Brad Jones Racing.
"It's good for my confidence ... it's taken me a while to win a race,'' Coulthard said. "I always knew I could do it, it's just restored my faith.''
In the early race, Coulthard started on pole and had to withstand some strong attacks to claim the victory. He outlasted a challenge mid-race from Kiwi compatriot Shane van Gisbergen who later crashed out. Bright finished second ahead of Ford Performance Racing's Will Davison.
It was the first time that Coulthard had gained a pole position in his time in V8 Supercars, after he showed excellent speed without reward in the opening races in Adelaide earlier in the month.
Kiwi rookie Scott McLauchlin drove his Fujitsu Racing Holden into sixth place in both races, while Van Gisbergen recovered to be ninth in race two while Jonny Reid was near the rear of the field in the Wilson Security Ford.