A seventh Bathurst 1000 title is in Craig Lowndes' sights but the Supercars great fears he will end up in disgruntled rival Scott McLaughlin's rear-view mirror at Mount Panorama.
Lowndes, 44, can join Jim Richards as just the second man to conquer the Great Race seven times in his last appearance as a full-time driver at his beloved Bathurst track on October 7.
And Lowndes, who won his first Bathurst 22 years ago, was expected to move a step closer to Peter Brock's record nine victories this year after his Triple Eight Holden team dominated the opening enduro, sweeping the recent Sandown 500 podium.
However, Lowndes expects a fightback from Ford gun McLaughlin's DJR Team Penske on the challenging 6.21km street circuit after being humbled at Sandown.
Former series leader McLaughlin finished fourth as "best of the rest" almost half a minute behind Triple Eight's winner Jamie Whincup, with his teammates Shane van Gisbergen and Lowndes not far behind, completing their first trifecta in more than two years.
McLaughlin was upset after the race, even accusing Triple Eight of having an unfair speed advantage.
Alarm bells are now ringing for Lowndes over McLaughlin's Bathurst response, saying Sandown wasn't a true indicator of Mount Panorama form.
"Sandown was a magical finish for us but I think it is very hard to take anything out of that race (for Bathurst)," Lowndes told AAP.
"Everyone is talking us up because of our results but Bathurst is a completely different beast.
"And last year Team Penske were the car to beat.
"There's no doubt they will want to turn their Sandown result around."
Still, three-time series champion Lowndes is keeping his eyes on the prize at Bathurst.
"Any time you win Bathurst it is special. I would rather win a Bathurst than a championship," said Lowndes, who will team with co-driver Steven Richards for the last time.
"It would be a massive achievement with Richo in our fifth year together.
"We won in 2015. We know what it feels like. It would be nice to turn that six into a seven."
Lowndes sits fourth in the drivers' standings, a whopping 567 points behind series leader van Gisbergen.
Van Gisbergen holds just a 55-point lead over nearest rival McLaughlin, with Whincup third overall.