It was a near perfect day from start to finish for race favourites Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell at the Wilson Security Sandown 500, winning every session and the two races that mattered.
Now there are 500kms to go in the Wilson Security Sandown 500 to defend their crown.
Iceman Whincup casually slotted his Red Bull Racing Commodore on ARMOR ALL Pole Position, Dumbrell, as he did last year, won his qualifying race from start to finish before Whincup also mirrored his victory of 12 months ago.
History may not be in their favour as a pole position sitter has not won at Sandown since 1996. Whincup and Dumbrell won from box two last year when they were alongside Will Davison and Steve Owen.
Menacing in that second spot tomorrow will be Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen, fresh of sprint victory in Sydney. Van Gisbergen was the only man to threaten Whincup today and at one stage looked like he might nab the Championship leader.
"I really enjoyed that, that was awesome," VIP Petfoods driver van Gisbergen said of the battle, despite finishing 1.51sec adrift of Whincup.
"We had a race similar in 2012, I was behind him the whole way and he fell off - I was hoping to do that same ... we were flat the whole way and it was really cool. That was an awesome race."
Teaming with Jonathon Webb, who improved five positions in the co-drivers qualifying race, van Gisbergen hopes small outfit TEKNO - which runs a Triple Eight built Commodore - can match the defending champs in the 500km enduro.
"We've got a good spot hopefully we can take it to them tomorrow," he said.
Whincup also praised the contest, and is always one to give it a red hot go despite the possible ramifications to his Championship.
"It's refreshing to have a race without points you go out, go hard and rag it. I enjoyed it," he said.
However, Whincup recognised it was a combined effort to get there, the Red Bull #1 on top over all three sessions today.
Mark Winterbottom came home third, the #5 Pepsi Max car on the second row, right behind its biggest Championship rival.
Whincup sat in the garage while his close mate Dumbrell led from start to finish - and there was a scare during the 20 laps when an investigation was filed for a potential jumped start, and was later cleared.
Dumbrell kept his head down and led the race - which has seen incredible chaos in past years - from start to finish, ahead of Jonathon Webb (pairing with Shane van Gisbergen) and Steve Owen (Mark Winterbottom).
Sandown has been a happy hunting ground for Dumbrell who not only won here alongside Whincup last year, but won as a solo racer in 2010, which encouraged him to continue for another season as a full-time driver.
"Since then I think we've been on the podium nearly every race - third and a win last year so I'd like not to break that tradition, and we can sit somewhere near the front tomorrow," Dumbrell said.
"Jamie made my job a lot easier starting from the front row. I nearly stuffed it up - they thought I might've jumped the start - but the car's really good."
Scott McLaughlin came home fourth, with Garth Tander, James Courtney, Craig Lowndes, David Reynolds, Tim Slade and Fabian Coulthard completing the top 10.
Drama struck on lap one for Russell Ingall, who spun off at turn one. A huge battle between Nick Percat, Jason Bright, Chaz Mostert and Scott Pye spiced up the closing laps further back through the field.
The V8 Supercars are on track for a 20-minute warm up beginning at 10.35am AEST, with the 500km race kicking off at 1.40pm.