Scott McLaughlin has continued his Supercars dominance, leading home an all-Kiwi podium in the opening race in Tasmania this afternoon.
McLaughlin took the lead at the start of the 50 lap race and was rarely troubled, cruising to his sixth win in just seven races this season.
His Shell V-Power Racing teammate Fabian Coulthard crossed the line in second, 1.76 seconds behind McLaughlin, while Shane van Gisbergen rounded out New Zealand's dominance of the podium, edging out Mark Winterbottom to finish third.
Jamie Whincup, who came into the race in second overall, 31 points behind McLaughlin, finished last. He qualified only in 15th, then made contact with Chaz Mostert on lap two. The resulting puncture took him to pitlane, and he never recovered, allowing McLaughlin's championship lead to balloon to 135 points over the now second-placed Mostert.
McLaughlin's win was his first in Tasmania and made additionally impressive by what he had to overcome. The biggest was a shock change by Supercars organisers, where the dominance of the Mustang cars – driven by McLaughlin - saw a new rule implemented enforcing a centre of gravity shift.
The Nissan cars stay as is, the Holden Commodore ZB's have to add 6.7kg to the roll cage under the roof and the Mustangs have to add 28kg.
Add in a virus that the 25-year-old was battling, and the win had more significance than potentially expected at the start of the week for McLaughlin.
"Great job to get a one-two, awesome," said McLaughlin, coughing post-race.
"I'll have a good sleep, watch a bit of the footy and try and come back stronger.
"We've worked hard behind the scenes. There's been a lot of stuff thrown at us, but we just fight on. We're a strong group."
McLaughlin, who qualified in second, beat polesitter Winterbottom off the line, then edged away to lead by a second after 10 laps.
The Shell Mustang had doubled that advantage by the time pitstops started nearing the halfway mark, and he maintained that buffer over teammate Coulthard for the rest of the race, to claim his 31st victory of his career.
It was Coulthard's second podium of the season, while van Gisbergen made the most of a decision to pit late to pass David Reynolds, James Courtney and Winterbottom to earn third place.
The other New Zealanders in the race had solid rides, with Richie Stanaway finishing in 16th, while Andre Heimgartner moved up seven spots from his qualifying position to finish 18th.
In the overall standings, Coulthard now sits third, just seven points behind Mostert, while van Gisbergen has jumped into eighth after a poor start to the season.
The eighth race of the Championship is held tomorrow afternoon.