Jamie Whincup claimed his fifth Surfers Paradise win and with it the championship lead as he and Sebastien Bourdais took victory in the opening race of V8 Supercars' Gold Coast 600.
Having secured pole, a dominant opening stint by Bourdais against the other international drivers put the No. 88 Triple Eight Holden more than 10 seconds clear of the field by the time they handed over to the series regulars on lap 34.
As if to underline that point Bourdais stayed out one lap longer than the rest of the leaders before handing over to Whincup, who had a massive 13sec margin when he rejoined. That was almost completely wiped out by a safety car period on lap 49 and again on lap 90, but on both occasions Whincup was able to maintain his advantage. In claiming victory he moved back into the lead of the championship, while Bourdais becomes the first man to win in IndyCars and in V8 Supercars on the Gold Coast.
"I love the streets of the Gold Coast," Whincup said. "Sebastien did an awesome job, he handed it over to me in the perfect position and it was just up to me to bring it home."
The No. 88 Holden's task was made easier as problems dogged the sister No. 888 Triple Eight of Andy Priaulx and erstwhile points leader Craig Lowndes, its main rival during practice.
Priaulx stopped twice on his way to the grid, and it was not until lap 20 that he was able to get actually start the race. He set several fastest laps before handing over to Lowndes, only for a punctured radiator to end their challenge at around half-distance. Instead, Whincup and Bourdais' main challenge came from the FPR Ford of Will Davison and Mika Salo, which finished second.
The HRT Holden of Garth Tander and Ryan Briscoe was also in the mix until Briscoe pitted on lap 33, one lap shy of the minimum tally each driver had to complete. The duo therefore had to pit again, and dropped down the order as a result. Third was claimed by the FPR Ford of Mark Winterbottom and Richard Lyons, which came through from 17th on the grid.
Ford's James Moffat and Joey Hand claimed fourth on the penultimate lap of the race, while the Walkinshaw Holden of Fabian Coulthard and Pat Long snatched fifth on the final tour, Greg Murphy/Oliver Gavin in the No. 11 Kelly Holden therefore dropping two places on the last two laps to end sixth.
Race 1 Results - 102 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Jamie Whincup Triple 8 Holden 2h13m21.5515s
2. Will Davison FPR Ford + 2.1902s
3. Mark Winterbottom FPR Ford + 2.4683s
4. James Moffat Dick Johnson Ford + 2.7719s
5. Fabian Coulthard Walkinshaw Holden + 5.8433s
6. Greg Murphy Kelly Holden + 7.1366s
7. Rick Kelly Kelly Holden + 12.4330s
8. Michael Caruso Garry Rogers Holden + 13.6039s
9. Jonathon Webb Tekno Ford + 15.0193s
10. Lee Holdsworth Garry Rogers Holden + 16.8085s
11. Garth Tander HRT Holden + 16.8226s
12. Tim Slade Rosenberg/SBR Ford + 17.0690s
13. Todd Kelly Kelly Holden + 17.4326s
14. James Courtney HRT Holden + 20.6768s
15. Paul Dumbrell Rod Nash/FPR Ford + 22.0608s
16. Shane van Gisbergen Stone Brothers Ford + 23.8801s
17. Jason Bargwanna Brad Jones Holden + 25.8878s
18. Steve Owen Paul Morris Holden + 28.9258s
19. David Reynolds Kelly Holden + 2 laps
20. Dean Fiore Triple F Ford + 2 laps
21. Jason Bright Brad Jones Holden + 3 laps
22. Russell Ingall Paul Morris Holden + 5 laps
23. Alex Davison Stone Brothers Ford + 24 laps
Tony D'Alberto D'Alberto Ford 75 laps
Craig Lowndes Triple 8 Holden 52 laps
Steven Johnson Dick Johnson Ford 24 laps
Warren Luff Dumbrell Holden 14 laps
Karl Reindler Britek Holden 13 laps