NISSAN Altima driver James Moffat's emotions went from elation to disappointment after claiming his maiden V8 Supercars triumph at Winton last month.
The 29-year-old said his famous father Allan, who won four Bathurst titles, and his family, were choked up with tears after the Melburnian received the chequered flag, which was also a first for the returning Nissan brand.
But disharmony quickly developed among rival teams about Altima's use of E70 ethanol fuel, with Holden Motorsport general manager Simon McNamara calling for Moffat's win to be overturned.
V8 Supercars subsequently ruled out the use of the 70% ethanol blend, compared to the usual 85% blend used by competitors, with opponents saying it gave Nissan an unfair advantage.
Moffat hit back at the critics leading into Sunday's gruelling Sandown 500.
"People need to understand that prior to our win at Winton, every V8 owner signed off on us and Mercedes using that particular fuel," he said.
"After the E70 was tested, it was identified that there was no horsepower improvement.
"It was purely for better fuel economy, but our engines are slower than Ford and Holden - theirs have 20 years' development over ours."
Moffat said he believed allowing Nissan and Mercedes to continue using E70 fuel was a better way forward than the four mandatory pit stops introduced, as a compromise to all teams.
"That could lead to more dramas - will everyone pit when the safety car comes out then?" he said.
"The roll-out of the car of the future concept was designed to entice more manufacturers into our sport, but is it a level playing field now?"
V8 Supercars' general manager of motorsport Damien White said the V8 Supercars Commission believed the appropriate way to minimise the effect of the fuel economy variance was to ensure everyone was racing on the same basis by mandating the number of
Fuel issues aside, Moffat said he was looking forward to the challenge of starting the endurance season on a high note at Sandown, despite the course favouring cars with higher-horsepower engines.
"We're heading into the weekend not expecting to do as well as Winton, but we'll give it our best," he said.
"If I can finish in the top 10 in the championship at the end of the season, it would be a pretty good achievement."
Moffat is 13th in the standings on 1155 points, with fellow Nissan Altima driver Rick Kelly on 1101. Red Bull Racing Australia's Jamie Whincup (1847) holds the lead over Ford pair Will Davison (1792) and Mark Winterbottom (1777).
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