Team Vodafone's Jamie Whincup continued where he left off in the opening round with a dominant victory in race one of the Hamilton 400 in New Zealand.
Whincup squeezed past pole man Mark Winterbottom on lap one and didn't look back, quickly opening a margin over the Ford Performance Racing driver, Whincup leading from start to finish apart from a few laps after his pit stop in the middle of the race.
Winterbottom was next best but never looked like taking the win away from Whincup. A steady drive from Garry Rogers driver Lee Holdsworth saw him finish third, putting pressure on Winterbottom after the second restart with four laps remaining but unable to make a pass.
This late-race restart shook up the order not far behind him however, as drivers got caught out as some cars were slow to get up to speed as they crossed the start/finish line to go back to racing.
Will Davison and Steven Johnson remained unchanged in fourth and fifth, but just behind them their teammates, Garth Tander and James Courtney, who were running sixth and seventh, suffered as Courtney got caught out by the slowing cars in front of him and slammed into the back of Tander's car as they approached the restart.
Both cars struggled over the remaining laps, Tander falling to 11th, Courtney dropping to 13th. This allowed Wilson Security's Fabian Coulthard to move up to sixth, having qualified a disappointing 21st, but quickly moved up to tenth after the first safety car restart on lap nine.
Next were the Kelly brothers Rick and Todd, with Irwin Racing's Alex Davison and Team BOC's Jason Richards completing the top ten after also climbing up the order from 16th and 20th respectively.
Whincup's team-mate Craig Lowndes looked set for a top-ten result despite some handling woes which saw him lose ground in the first half of the race, but mechanical woes forced him to pit a couple of times and he ended three laps down in 24th place.
Pos Driver Make Time
1. Jamie Whincup Ford 1:27:20.3645
2. Mark Winterbottom Ford + 1.5378
3. Lee Holdsworth Holden + 2.3123
4. Will Davison Holden + 5.5655
5. Steven Johnson Ford + 8.0897
6. Fabian Coulthard Ford + 8.5742
7. Rick Kelly Holden + 9.8645
8. Todd Kelly Holden + 11.5782
9. Alex Davison Ford + 14.1187
10. Jason Richards Holden + 15.4099
11. Garth Tander Holden + 17.2794
12. David Reynolds Holden + 17.6000
13. James Courtney Ford + 18.0627
14. Michael Patrizi Ford + 18.7178
15. Steven Richards Ford + 19.6224
16. Cameron McConville Holden + 28.2723
17. Shane van Gisbergen Ford + 39.8086
18. Paul Dumbrell Holde + 1 lap
19. Jack Perkins Holde + 1 lap
20. Tony D'Alberto Holde + 1 lap
21. Jason Bright Ford + 1 lap
22. Dale Wood Holde + 1 lap
23. Russell Ingall Holde + 1 lap
24. Craig Lowndes Ford + 4 laps
25. Michael Caruso Holden + 7 laps
Driver Make Laps
Dean Fiore Holden 56
Marcus Marshall Ford 53
Jason Bargwanna Holden 44
Tim Slade Holden 17
Greg Murphy Holden 5