Chaz Mostert won a wild third Supercars race at the Australian Grand Prix but the result took a back seat to the sensational warm-up lap collision that knocked out series leader and pole sitter Scott McLaughlin.
The reigning champion retreated to the garage with Cam Waters, who was set to start from second position at the Albert Park circuit, after the pair's Ford Mustangs made heavy contact while weaving to warm up their tyres.
Neither was able to make it back to the starting grid for Saturday evening's 25-lap race, robbing McLaughlin of the opportunity to make it five wins from five starts.
Mostert made the most of the shock scenario to win his first race of the season in his Tickford Racing Mustang, with Jamie Whincup (Red Bull HRT) second and Tim Slade (Brad Jones Racing) third.
Slade effectively started from pole position, with teammate Nick Percat beside him, after the extraordinary exits of McLaughlin and Waters left the front row vacant.
"What do you do? I'm gutted for our fans, our sponsors and our team," McLaughlin said.
"I was just doing my normal thing and then, all of a sudden, 'Whack'. Then what do you do?
"I certainly don't think it's on myself. I'm the car in front, he's got vision of me and I was doing exactly what I was doing at all the other corners.
"I haven't seen the vision but for me, where I stand, is I'm expecting an apology."
McLaughlin, whose championship lead over Whincup was slashed from 116 points to just 24, might be waiting a while for his apology.
"I thought he'd seen me then he went hard left and I went to go and then he went hard right and I just clipped his back wheel," Waters said.
"It was just shit.
"I'm not taking full responsibility for that, but it shouldn't happen."
The mishap ruined McLaughlin's perfect start to the championship, the Kiwi following dual victories in Adelaide with the first two wins of the four-race event at Albert Park.
Shane van Gisbergen's miserable run of luck in Melbourne continued after he lost the right rear wheel of his Red Bull HRT on the 19th lap triggering a safety car.
He was able to rejoin the race but finished last after he failed to finish Friday's race with an engine failure.
Australian Associated Press