Race winner Rick Kelly, in white, celebrates with his team after winning the Supercars Winton SuperSprint on Saturday.
Race winner Rick Kelly, in white, celebrates with his team after winning the Supercars Winton SuperSprint on Saturday. Daniel Kalisz

Kelly wins at Winton in ironic twist for Nissan

RICK Kelly has capped off a dramatic week for Nissan by snatching his first Supercars victory in seven years.

He prevented championship leader Scott McLaughlin becoming the first driver in 10 years to win a fifth straight race win, after a safety-car calamity on Saturday afternoon at the Winton Supersprint in Victoria.

After starting from pole, New Zealand McLaughlin star was cruising to another win before Brad Jones Racing's Tim Blanchard went flying into the sand on lap 31.

McLaughlin was caught off guard by the safety car before slipping to fifth, and Kelly pounced to grab the lead.

Two-time Bathurst 1000 champion Kelly celebrated in style after winning his first race since 2011 at Sandown.

Holden pair Scott Pye and Shane van Gisbergen joined Kelly on the podium for the unexpected result.

Ironically, Nissan had called time on its backing of the Kelly Racing team, announcing on Tuesday its intention to withdraw support from the end of this season.

Team co-owner and Rick's older brother Todd Kelly said after the race that the result "felt better than winning Bathurst".

"It just shows the calibre of these guys here (at Kelly Racing) ... they couldn't have been under any more adversity and more distraction in the lead-up to this, but they've dug deep and got the job done," Todd said.

"He's (Rick) been through a lot and to keep his head screwed on ... the pressure he was under the whole race was pretty crazy."

There was early carnage in the 40-lap race and championship contender David Reynolds came out worst.

The Erebus Motorsport ace headed to the Victorian circuit third in the standings behind McLaughlin and fellow Holden driver van Gisbergen.

Reynolds suffered a flat tyre after a first-lap incident with Jack Le Brocq, sending him to the garage for six laps to condemn him to finishing last.

- AAP