Jamie Whincup has made the perfect start to his quest for a seventh V8 Supercars title, taking out Race 1 of the season at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.
The Red Bull driver started from pole position and was not headed for the duration, holding off Chaz Mostert in a one-lap dash to the flag after a late Safety Car period.
The win marked the 90th for Whincup in the V8 Supercars Championship, drawing equal second on the all-time list with Mark Skaife.
The race’s biggest drama occurred on the warm-up lap as the Volvo of third placed qualifier Scott McLaughlin suffered a spectacular spin on Wakefield Road.
The incident, later blamed on an oil pump failure, saw flames and oil spew from the S60 as it rotated and nosed into the right-hand concrete wall.
McLaughlin’s misfortune forced a full re-run of the starting procedure, adding to the tension ahead of the season’s first race.
Fabian Coulthard scored his first Adelaide podium in third having lost track position to Mostert in the compulsory pitstop cycle.
Craig Lowndes and Mark Winterbottom completed the top five, with the Ford driver holding on despite damaging his front bumper on the Turn 1 tyre bundle late in the going.
Winterbottom and sixth place finisher Shane van Gisbergen made strong gains after starting 11th and 12th respectively.
Walkinshaw quartet Garth Tander, Tim Slade, Lee Holdsworth and James Courtney filled the remainder of the top 10.
Holdsworth ran sixth before locking his rear brakes and running wide on the final lap, while fifth place qualifier James Courtney had earlier lost time with a poor pitstop.
The single Safety Car was called on lap 30 after Will Davison’s Mercedes came to a halt with engine problems at Turn 6.
Erebus’ fortunes took simultaneous blows as Ashley Walsh collected a stationary Andre Heimgartner, who had been spun by Dale Wood at Turn 9, just prior to the yellows.
Wood later received a 22 second post-race penalty for his part in the incident.
The incidents helped Marcos Ambrose move up from 24th on the grid to finish 16th on DJR Team Penske’s debut.
The lengthy delay from McLaughlin’s incident ensured that the race would run to its time cut-off, six laps short of its original scheduled distance.
The second 125km race of the day is set for 1625 local time.
VIDEO: Scott McLaughlin out on warm-up lap
VIDEO: Clipsal 500 Race 1 highlights
Result: V8 Supercars, Race 1 Clipsal 500
|1||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||33||48:28.7493|
|2||Pepsi Max Crew||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||33||48:29.6065|
|3||Freightliner Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||33||48:30.0012|
|4||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||33||48:30.2134|
|5||Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||33||48:30.7270|
|6||Team TEKNO Darrell Lea||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||33||48:31.2505|
|7||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||33||48:31.7672|
|8||Supercheap Auto Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||33||48:32.0428|
|9||Walkinshaw Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||33||48:32.6205|
|10||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||33||48:32.8694|
|11||Nissan Mororsport||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||33||48:33.3442|
|12||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||33||48:33.9014|
|13||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||33||48:34.4507|
|14||Nissan Motorsport||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||33||48:34.7013|
|15||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||33||48:35.1777|
|16||DJR Team Penske||Marcos Ambrose||Ford Falcon FG/X||33||48:35.8940|
|17||Wilson Security Racing GRM||David Wall||Volvo S60||33||48:37.3598|
|18||Repair Management Aust Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||33||48:38.1134|
|19||Team Cooldrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||33||48:38.8906|
|20||Erebus Motorsport V8||Ashley Walsh||Mercedes E63 AMG||33||48:39.0943|
|21||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||33||48:39.4120|
|22||Team GB Galvanizing||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||33||49:00.2751|
|23||Super Black Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Falcon FG||32||48:42.6845|
|DNF||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Mercedes E63 AMG||28||39:27.9925|
|DNF||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60|