Jamie Whincup claimed his ninth victory of the V8 Supercar season in the first of three races supporting the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Triple 8 Holden driver made a good start from second on the grid to challenge Ford Performance Racing's Will Davison, who had started from pole position at Yas Marina, into the first corner.
Davison managed to hold on around the outside, only for Whincup to pass him into the Turn 8 left-hander at the end of the long back straight. This gave Whincup clear air at the front while Davison became embroiled in a battle with Shane van Gisbergen's Stone Brothers Ford.
The New Zealander got ahead of Davison at Turn 18 to run second. But on the following lap, Davison won the battle of the Ford drivers to retake the place despite van Gisbergen attempting to re-take the position at Turn 1 on lap three.
By this time, Whincup had broken away at the front and despite Davison chipping away at his lead for a few laps, his lead never looked under threat. He stretched his advantage to over four seconds by the finish and now leads Mark Winterbottom by 250 points in the championship.
Tim Slade and Lee Holdsworth had uneventful runs to fourth and fifth, respectively. Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander held sixth for much of the race but looked increasingly likely to lose the position to Whincup's team-mate, Craig Lowndes, who briefly got his nose ahead at Turn 8 on lap nine. But with Tander able to reclaim the position, Lowndes found himself under pressure from FPR driver Winterbottom.
The decisive moment came on lap 10, with Lowndes outbraking himself at Turn 8 and running wide, handing the position to Winterbottom, who went on to pass Tander for sixth.
James Moffat took ninth in his Dick Johnson Racing Ford after passing Jonathon Webb on lap eight. Webb struggled for pace all race, but drove well to hold on to 10th ahead of a queue of faster cars led by Fabian Coulthard.
Former champion James Courtney failed to finish after picking up suspension damage in a second-lap clash, leaving HRT facing a race against of time to repair his car for the imminent second race.
Results - 12 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Jamie Whincup Triple 8 Holden 27m05.295s
2. Will Davison FPR Ford + 4.100s
3. Shane van Gisbergen Stone Brothers Ford + 9.211s
4. Tim Slade Rosenberg/SBR Ford + 10.634s
5. Lee Holdsworth Stone Brothers Ford + 13.627s
6. Mark Winterbottom FPR Ford + 14.898s
7. Garth Tander HRT Holden + 15.827s
8. Craig Lowndes Triple 8 Holden + 17.851s
9. James Moffat Dick Johnson Ford + 20.255s
10. Jonathon Webb Tekno Holden + 24.118s
11. Fabian Coulthard Brad Jones Holden + 24.339s
12. Michael Patrizi Tekno Holden + 26.390s
13. David Reynolds Rod Nash/FPR Ford + 26.441s
14. Tony d'Alberto Tony d'Alberto Ford + 26.708s
15. Steven Johnson Dick Johnson Ford + 30.000s
16. Michael Caruso Garry Rogers Holden + 32.897s
17. Dean Fiore Triple F Ford + 36.504s
18. Russell Ingall Walkinshaw Holden + 39.070s
19. Jason Bright Brad Jones Holden + 41.733s
20. Alexandre Premat Garry Rogers Holden + 42.724s
21. Karl Reindler Kelly Holden + 43.193s
22. David Wall Britek/BJR Holden + 45.981s
23. Steve Owen Dick Johnson Ford + 49.079s
24. Tim Blanchard Kelly Holden + 50.487s
25. Greg Murphy Kelly Holden + 52.065s
26. Taz Douglas Lucas Dumbrell Holden + 52.683s
Rick Kelly Kelly Holden 9 laps
James Courtney HRT Holden 1 lap