Great champions are perhaps best known for their ability to fight back. Jamie Whincup is the master.
The ice-cool, calculated Whincup turned a Townsville disaster into a Queensland Raceway triumph at the Coates Hire Ipswich 360 today with a clinical 60-60 Super Sprint victory.
Qualify on Armor All Pole Position. Lead from the start. Use the advantage in the rolling restart. Sounds simple but takes great effort. Whincup got it perfectly right.
Today he held of sensational young rookie Scott McLaughlin in his Fujitsu GRM Commodore from Pepsi Max FPR Crew's Mark Winterbottom who overcame an early race incident with Craig Lowndes (fourth).
It extends Whincup's Championship lead once again, with a new qualifying session and two longer races tomorrow. He now holds a 131 point Championship lead over Lowndes, which is less than half a race weekend.
"It's good to bounce back from our worst performance of the year in Townsville, today was certainly our best performance of the year," Whincup said.
"We won't sit on our hands though. We lost a little bit of pace from the first stint to the second so we will need to step up tomorrow just to be competitive."
Rather than take the credit, Whincup said important development at one of the few test days teams are permitted was a key to the rebound.
"You only get a handful of days a year and with the new car and the brand new rear end, new tyres and new trims it's very difficult to get the most out of.
"It's challenging though it's the same for everyone, it's just a matter of working out when you put in your test days and when you use your tyres and when you don't.
"We are well and truly on track, but this part of the year is all about winning races and we've been able to win a few so I'm really happy.
"Clearly the car was very good. I was very tough during practice this morning, we were all running around on fairly ordinary tyres any car that's done most of the racing is on pretty old rubber.
"You have to be confident in what you are doing and we threw the green rubber on for this race, not for qualifying and the car was very, very good."
Championship second-placed Lowndes pushed the envelope on the very first lap with an audacious inside move at the third corner, pushing Mark Winterbottom wide to cost him several places and Fabian Coulthard who had started on the second row of the grid.
The move, which was under investigation post-race, helped Lowndes push up into third place in the race while leaving Coulthard and Winterbottom fighting back.
"It's interesting when you talk to someone you always accuse someone of diving at their team. He obviously blamed Fabian straight away so no surprise there to be honest," Winterbottom said in a cryptic message that he was not happy.
Coulthard suffered the most but was reserved in his opinion.
"From where I was on the track I was on the outside. I knew he would bomb down the inside but couldn't do much about it," Coulthard said.
"I was really an innocent bystander watching what happened to Frosty. You got to cop it on the chin, this is what we do, you have good weekends and bad weekends."
Meanwhile Whincup charged on, then shifting into conservative mode to hold position knowing that the double-file restart for the second leg would bring the field back together again.
Winterbottom came out in the second half with a better car and was soon past Lowndes into third. McLaughlin also challenged Whincup through the first part of the segment.
Dunlop Series Championship leader Dale Wood made a clean start from ARMOR ALL Pole Position which saw him wrap up his second race win for 2013 and remain on top of the leaderboard.
World MotoGP Champion Casey Stoner wasn't so lucky after contact with Geoff Emery saw the Dunlop Series debutant in almost the identical scenario he found himself three weeks ago in Townsville.
Qualifying his best of the year in seventh, Stoner suffered at the hands of bad luck after what could have been a promising start on his home track, to finish in 17th.