Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe set a captain's example with two first-half tries as Sale claimed a 36-6 bonus-point victory over French outfit Montauban to climb to the top of Pool One in the Heineken Cup.
The Argentina back row, 27, scored in the fifth and 23rd minutes before Andy Tuilagi, Eifion Roberts and young replacement David Tait added second-half touchdowns to ensure a turbulent week at Edgeley Park ended on a high note.
Director of rugby Philippe-Saint-Andre announced on Thurasday he is quit the club at the end of the season after five years in charge.
He is poised to return to his native France and has several suitors, most notably Toulon, but his dream to bow out as a European champion with Sale remains alive after this win.
The Sharks - who head to Montauban for the return fixture next Saturday - led after five minutes due to their physical superiority up front.
A driving maul proved too much for the French visitors and Lobbe emerged from a thicket of bodies to touch down.
Charlie Hodgson added the easiest of conversions to put the hosts 7-0 ahead but Montauban came back strongly and in the 10th minute fly-half Cedric Rosalen engineered the space to send a drop-goal between the posts from 25 metres.
Yet with Hodgson and Dwayne Peel dovetailing effectively at half-back, Sale had a potent attacking cocktail behind their scrum and the pendulum quickly swung back in their favour.
And when Sale claimed their second try in the 23rd minute, after a series of earlier promising moves had failed to bear fruit, it was no more than they deserved.
Hodgson, dictating play from the middle of the park, found Lobbe advancing forward at pace around 15 metres out with a neat short offload and his skipper needed no second invitation to crash over the line.
Hodgson could not convert from a difficult position near the right-hand touchline but Sale were in control at 12-3.
Montauban spurned an opportunity to reduce the arrears five minutes later when Rosalen skewed a penalty wide after Rory Lamont was found guilty of failing to release the ball.
Montauban fly-half Rosalen missed another penalty in the 33rd minute and Hodgson soon added another three-pointer for Sale to secure the hosts a 15-3 interval advantage.
Sale replace Lionel Faure with England prop Andrew Sheridan at the break and their domination increased further.
A penalty from Rosalen cut the gap to nine points in the 48th minute but in the 54th minute Lobbe collected the ball after a fine break from Lamont and ushered Tuilagi over the line from close range.
Hodgson converted and added the extras again in the 63rd minute after Roberts crashed over the line from close range.
Hodgson then claimed his fourth conversion in the closing stages after Tait found the space to ground a loose ball for Sale's fifth try to cap a thoroughly convincing win.
Tries: Fernandez Lobbe 2, Tuilagi, Roberts, Tait
Cons: Hodgson 4
Drop goal: Rosalen
Sale: 15 Rory Lamont, 14 Mark Cueto, 13 Andy Tuilagi, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 David Doherty, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Juan Manuel Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Neil Briggs, 6 Jason White, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 Sebastien Chabal, 3 Eifion Roberts, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Lionel Faure.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Sheridan, 17 Stuart Turner, 18 Brent Cockbain, 19 Carl Fearns, 20 Richard Wigglesworth, 21 Chris Bell, 22 Mathew Tait.
Montauban: 15 Johan Dalla Riva, 14 Adrien Figueiredo, 13 Miguel Avramovic, 12 Shannon Paku, 11 Jean Emmanuel Cassin, 10 Cédric Rosalen, 9 Fabrice Culinat, 8 Fabrice Soldan, 7 Matthew Clarkin, 6 Antoine Battut, 5 Rowan Frost, 4 Scott Murray (c), 3 Nick Adams, 2 Grégory Arganese, 1 Laurent DelBoulbes
Replacements: 16 Brice Mach, 17 Bogdan Balan, 18 Benjamin Sa, 19 Matthias Rolland, 20 Ibrahim Diarra, 21 Sylvain Jonnet, 22 Fabien Fortassin.
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)