After more than 200 V8 Supercars starts, Tim Slade has finally broken his duck by claiming victory at Winton.
The Brad Jones Racing driver commanded the race from the start, taking full advantage of his pole position before holding the lead through the pitstop phase.
Emerging back out front once the stops had been completed, Slade had an easy run to the line as Scott McLaughlin and Mark Winterbottom squabbled for second place.
Unlike the same race a year ago the field filed through the tricky first chicane on the opening lap without incident, though further around the lap contact saw James Moffat in for repairs and Garth Tander to replace a puncture.
There was contact between Lee Holdsworth and James Courtney too which stewards elected to review post-race which saw Jamie Whincup gain two places.
Courtney would again be in the wars later in the race, battling with Cam Waters shortly before mid-distance.
The HRT man had lost out to Waters at turn four, though managed to stick it out around the outside.
Making contact, Courtney was pushed onto the dirt before rejoining the circuit, still alongside the Falcon driver.
However when Waters went to turn in to Turn 5, with Courtney still up the inside, the pair made contact again, with both cars leaving the circuit.
It would prove the biggest talking point of the race outside of Slade’s breakthrough performance, since out front the Commodore driver saw little action all race.
A measured performance following his stop saw Slade manage the gap to the chasing pack without ever letting it close enough for a sniff of victory.
It was a fine drive from the South Australian, though in reality he’ll have worked harder for much less in his career.
The challenge for both Slade and the team now is to repeat the performance on Sunday, and use it to build on for the remainder of the season.
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