Key Points:

MANAMAR - Rick Kelly controversially punted his V8 championship-leading team-mate Garth Tander, while Ford's Mark Winterbottom cruised to his maiden solo victory on an eventful final day in the Bahrain desert.

On lap three of race two, Kelly and Tander were attempting to carefully navigate through the tight opening corner, but they were almost too careful and Kelly tapped Tander, who went spinning out of control.

Tander fell from second to 27th and moments later Kelly was the victim when the defending V8 Supercar champion left the circuit after making contact with five-time winner Mark Skaife.

In the third and final race, Tander battled back to finish well in the points in fifth, while Craig Lowndes won it to complete his own remarkable revival after crashing out on lap one of Friday's opener.

Ford's other championship hopeful Jamie Whincup had a nightmare weekend, failing to finish race one and missing out on the points in races two and three to drop from first to third in the standings with only Tasmania and Phillip Island to go.

After 12 of 14 rounds, Tander leads the championship with 530 points, followed by Lowndes (510), Whincup (501) and Kelly (496).

While frustrated, Tander said there were no hard feelings between he and Kelly.

"I didn't know Rick was so far up on the inside," the West Australian said.

"There was only a small bit of contact but with very little grip here it was just enough to turn the car around.

"Rick and I have raced together for several years without swapping paint so it's unfortunate that it's cost us points."

The dominant Winterbottom, who destroyed the field to win race one and two, was third in race three and picked up 65 points to runaway with the Desert 400 crown.

James Courtney was second for the weekend after another consistent display, followed by Steven Johnson and Will Davison as Falcons took out the top four spots.

Just prior to the Kelly-Tander incident, Winterbottom had breezed past the pair and into top spot in race two.

The man they call "Frosty" had started on pole but he got off to a poor start and lost a couple of positions.

It didn't take long for him to recover though, with his BF Falcon blowing the Holden pair away with remarkable straight-line speed.

Only last Wednesday, Winterbottom's car had suffered considerable damage after it was left dangling off a freight truck in a freak road accident on the highway to the Bahrain International Circuit.

It was a remarkable turnaround for the Ford Performance Racing team, who blew leads at Sandown and Bathurst and were also stripped of pole two weeks ago at the Gold Coast Indy.