Kiwi driver Shane Van Gisbergen is closing in on Supercars leader Jamie Whincup after victory in today's race at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The Red Bull Racing driver claimed a third win from the past six races to cut the margin to team-mate Whincup in the championship battle to 98 points.
Whincup threatened to claim the 100th win of his illustrious career as he closed right onto Van Gisbergen's rear bumper in the final 10 laps. But the six-time drivers' champion couldn't find a way past his in-form team-mate and had to settle for second.
The pair passed Ford pole-setter Chaz Mostert in the first lap of the race. Whincup took the lead after van Gisbergen pitted on lap 14 of the 31-lap race but, when he pitted three later, emerged fourth and had to fight his way through to second.
"At the end, that was fun with Jamie, I knew he was coming through," Van Gisbergen said. "I made one mistake at turn one and had to defend but, other than that, it was pretty cool. I enjoyed that one."
Whincup was unaware smoke was pouring from his front right tyre in the closing laps and continued to push, saying it felt fine in the cockpit, and eventually finished 0.246s behind van Gisbergen.
"Shane was quick," he said. "We have pretty much the exact same car, exact same setup. I gave it a crack. It was all good fun, didn't bend any panels."
Holden's James Courtney, making a return to the track where he suffered serious injuries in a freak pitlane accident last year, finished third and Mostert, who earlier in the day claimed his fourth pole position of the season, came in fourth.
Scott McLaughlin was fifth and remains fifth in the championship standings. Fellow Kiwi Fabian Coulthard was 10th and Andre Heimgartner 23rd.
It was a day to forget for defending champion Mark Winterbottom, who didn't feature at the front of the field all day and could finish only 11th.
Holden veteran Craig Lowndes was sixth and will be aiming for a higher finish tomorrow when he makes his 600th career race start in a 52-lap race from 2pm.