Jamie Whincup kicked off his partnership with new engineer David Cauchi in fine style, taking the opening race win of the season at the Clipsal 500.
Whincup lost the lead to fellow front-row starter Craig Lowndes off the line, but was able to undercut his team-mate in the pitstop cycle.
Lowndes pitted 10 laps later than Whincup and, after a slight delay on his right-rear tyre change, rejoined almost four seconds in arrears.
The gap closed to as little as 0.6s before Lowndes slid wide at Turn 4 with five laps remaining, ensuring Whincup the race win.
“Lowndesey was coming on strong and I didn’t know how I was going to go holding him out,” said Whincup afterward.
“He was going hard and will be a big threat in the next one.”
Shane van Gisbergen finished third, unable to hold onto Lowndes after the stops despite taking four tyres to his rivals’ two.
Mark Winterbottom, Fabian Coulthard and Rick Kelly completed the top six, while Scott McLaughlin was seventh on Volvo’s debut.
The race ran green for its duration despite several minor incidents.
FPR duo Chaz Mostert and David Reynolds both saw their races come unstuck on the opening lap.
The former’s car suffered a power steering problem off the start before being dispatched into the Turn 5 tyre barrier, while Reynolds was involved in a mid-pack concertina.
Nick Percat and Dale Wood were the last two classified finishers after both clouting Michael Caruso’s Nissan mid-race.
Caruso soldiered on to finish 18th, two places behind team-mate James Moffat who was forced to serve a pitlane speeding penalty.
It was also a tough race for the fourth Altima of Todd Kelly, which ran as high as seventh in the closing stages before falling to 16th as he struggled with a steering problem.
A second 125km race will be held later this evening.
See below for full Race 1 result
|1||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||39||53:57.5158|
|2||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||39||54:00.2930|
|3||Team Tekno VIP Petfoods||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||39||54:05.3584|
|4||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||39||54:11.4219|
|5||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||39||54:16.7525|
|6||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||39||54:21.5366|
|7||Valvoline Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||39||54:21.9777|
|8||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||39||54:22.2645|
|9||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||39||54:28.6882|
|10||Wilson Security Racing||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG||39||54:30.3200|
|11||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||39||54:30.9458|
|12||Repair ManagementRacing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VF||39||54:33.5104|
|13||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Mercedes E63 AMG||39||54:33.9643|
|14||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Ford Falcon FG||39||54:37.2445|
|15||Supercheap Auto Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||39||54:38.0140|
|16||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||39||54:41.2213|
|17||Erebus Motorsport V8||Lee Holdsworth||Mercedes E63 AMG||39||54:42.2120|
|18||Norton Hornets||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||39||54:56.5980|
|19||Team JELD-WEN||Jack Perkins||Ford Falcon FG||39||54:56.9029|
|20||Norton Hornets||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||38||54:07.8420|
|21||Valvoline Racing GRM||Robert Dahlgren||Volvo S60||38||54:12.7232|
|22||Walkinshaw Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||35||55:01.5615|
|23||Team Advam/GB||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||32||55:11.7337|
|DNF||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG||21||48:03.6999|
|DNF||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||12||48:18.5027|