Jamie Whincup feels back in control as shades of his dominance returned at the Chill Perth 360. The three-time V8 Supercar Champion won both races of the day, reinforced his Championship lead and got bragging rights over the rest of the field.
He won the first race of the day in his Red Bull Racing Australia Commodore from Team BOC's Jason Bright and Pepsi Max Crew's Mark Winterbottom. He scored the double from team-mate Craig Lowndes with Bright third.
Now he plans to press on when the sport makes its debut in the US at the Circuit of the Americas next week where every team will be running at the track for the first time.
"It was good this weekend to prove the hard work behind the scenes is paying off. Let's hope we can now maintain this for the rest of the year," Whincup said.
"The Championship is great but that is not considered at this point of the year. I am sure there will be four or five leaders before we get to Sydney. There are so many competitors this year. It is enjoyable with no doubt and you don't know what you are going to get.
"Going to Texas is going to be great. I like the European style tracks so I can't wait to get over there."
Lowndes yesterday became the most successful racer in Australian motorsport when he clocked 91 wins and was on target for another in the final race before Whincup passed him at a safety car restart.
"We have definitely improved the cars a lot since New Zealand. You have your ups and downs but overall it was a good weekend. We maintained our position in the Championship and as everyone keeps saying it's anybody's game," Lowndes said.
"It's no secret we have been struggling with performance. We are getting good feedback and great information especially heading over to Texas." The form of Bright and his team continues despite the fact he fell away slightly towards the end of the race.
"Until that point I was pretty happy. I would have liked to have given these guys are bit of a run. When you are leading and you have got clear air it's much easier."
Bright is looking forward to returning to the US where he raced open wheelers early in his career.
"One of the things I like about going to a new circuit like that is getting up to speed. We don't get to do that very often, only every couple of years," he said.
Whincup took the chequered flag in the first race of the day ahead of Bright, Winterbottom, Fabian Coulthard, Will Davison, James Courtney, Shane Van Gisbergen, Craig Lowndes, Alex Davison and James Moffat. Today was Nissan driver Moffat's second top 10 result in two days.
There was talk of whether cars would or wouldn't stop for tyres during the race - a stop was not compulsory - and local Dean Fiore tried the full run. It looked as if he may have been on track for his best result at his home track, but Fiore was swallowed in the last laps of the race, eventually coming 13th.
Whincup first extended his lead in the Championship when he took the chequered flag by a margin of 0.75sec over Bright and Winterbottom.
Whincup, who started from fifth on the grid, pitted for new tyres on lap 18 of the 42-lap battle and that proved to be the difference on the hard-wearing 2.42km circuit.
In the second race Whincup didn't have an ideal run - though he started from first on the grid, he had an excursion into the sand after some coolant was dropped on the track.
A quick call for new tyres put Whincup back in the lead pack.
Winterbottom, who was running in second, was also caught out by the fluid, but didn't manage to recover, finishing 12th.
Rounding out the top 10 was Will Davison - who yesterday lost the Championship lead to Whincup - David Reynolds, Shane Van Gisbergen, Fabian Coulthard, a career best eighth for Moffat, Tander who recovered from qualifying 23rd, and debutant Chaz Mostert in 10th.