IT took him 14 attempts to post his first Supercars win at Mount Panorama, but just over four months later Shane van Gisbergen can now boast back-to-back wins at the iconic circuit.
After he finished the 2020 season with his maiden Bathurst 1000 win, van Gisbergen marked the start of his new campaign with another superb drive to claim the chequered flag in race one at the Bathurst 500.
Even though a charging Chaz Mostert clawed back time on him over the final quarter of the 250 kilometre race, he never looked like catching van Gisbergen.
"What an awesome day, Chaz was obviously fast at the end, but I wasn't really pushing," the Red Bull Ampol Racing talent said.
"You get it on the dash, the gap, and I was just watching it and just cruising. I knew he had better tyres and he was obviously faster - I don't think I could have done that pace - but you know I wasn't pushing at all."
The Kiwi star jumped from third to second after the green light was given then took the lead for the first time on lap eight after pole sitter Cameron Waters struck trouble. From that point onwards he was in control, the #97 Commodore having good speed throughout.
"It was a good start, I cleared Tim [Slade], I think he had a shocker, then just tried to pace with Cam, but there was so much aero wash," he said.
"I thought I'd save tyres to the end of the stint, drove up to him, he had some problems but it's just impossible to pass. [But] At the pit stop I saw the bonnet pop up on his car and yeah, so then I knew he was out.
"But our pace was really good, the car was awesome."
Mostert was happy to finish as runner-up, but acknowledged he needs to qualify better than position six.
"I kinda struggled to pass to guys in front of me, you just get so hot, the brakes get hot, the tyres get hot, it was definitely a strategy game that we need to get on top of a bit more," he said.
"Maybe I would have been lucky enough to get closer to him [van Gisbergen] if I put everything together, but it was pretty hard in that middle stint and in the first stint I probably didn't have the car.
"Overall pretty happy to start the year like that, we've just got to qualify a little better."
Third place belonged to Will Davison, marking his return to a full-time drive with a solid performance in his Shell V-Power Racing Mustang.
"It was a long year watching on the couch last year and this feels really special, we'll build on this," he said.
"For me, for my first race, I'll absolutely take it ... I was hoping I wouldn't be too rusty."
One hundred and 32 days after cars lined up on the grid for the 2020 season-ending Bathurst 1000, on Saturday afternoon they again took their position.
As was the case last October, it was Tickford Racing's Waters on pole position. But this time around there were no co-drivers and instead of a 161-lap battle, it was 40.
Waters got away well to lead the way up the Mount ahead of van Gisbergen, while Slade dropped three spots after starting on the front row.
Team 18 driver Scott Pye sustained damage on the opening lap - bending the steering arm of his Commodore - and while able to get back to the lane, he lost three laps while repairs were being made.
Dave Reynolds, Jack Le Brocq, Nick Percat and Bryce Fullwood all took the first of their two compulsory pit stops early given their poor track position, while up front Waters continued to lead the way over van Gisbergen.
But on lap seven the race was yellow flagged as Anton De Pasquale missed the inside racing line at The Cutting and hit the outside wall in his Shell V-Power Racing Mustang.
"I was pushing a bit hard and made a mistake," he said.
"It wasn't a big hit, but obviously paid a big price for it. Yeah, no good, bad way to start they year, I feel bad for everyone here."
That also triggered a flood of cars coming into pit lane - with Jamie Whincup, James Courtney and Will Brown all having to double-stack.
With teams opting for different re-fuelling strategies it saw the grid shuffle with van Gisbergen in the lead over Fullwood and Slade. Waters remerged in fifth, but then came back into the lane and straight into the garage with a power-steering issue.
Percat also returned to the garage due to an electrical problem to drop out of contention and before the race ended, his Brad Jones Racing team-mate Macauley Jones struck trouble too as the outfit's run of bad luck at Bathurst continued.
"Pretty much I was going around after that second pit stop and pretty much lost all power and that thing started to smoke up a bit. It's not looking good for the engine in the car at the moment, so it's a bit of a shame really," Macauley Jones said after his race ended after lap 24.
Fullwood, who had been running second, made his second stop after lap 19. It meant at the halfway point it was van Gisbergen, Slade, Davison, Mostert and Jack Le Brocq in the top five.
By the time everyone circulated through for their final stop there were nine laps remaining and van Gisbergen held a lead of just over seven seconds on Mostert.
Mostert - on newer tyres - put everything into reducing that margin. He clocked he fastest lap of the race on his 33rd circuit with a 2:06.3438.
With five laps to go while battling Davison for third, Slade ploughed into the wall at the top of the Mount and destroyed the left-hand side of the Mustang.
However, it did not trigger a yellow flag as Slade was able to limp down the hill and park his car off the track. That was good news for van Gisbergen who went on to claim the chequered flag instead of having the field bunch up behind him.
He won by 1.4273 seconds over Mostert with Davison snagging the final spot on the podium and Winterbottom and Fullwood rounding out the top five.