Jamie Whincup beat Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen to victory in the opening leg of Supercars' Adelaide 500.
Fresh from putting his retirement on hold, Whincup was in fine form on the streets of the South Australian capital, the scene of the season opener.
In the week that General Motors announced it will axe the famous Holden brand, Whincup comfortably led a 1-3 for the factory squad, with reigning champion McLaughlin splitting the two works Commodores with a well-crafted second place.
Victory effectively made it back-to-back wins for Whincup, who won the final race of the 2019 season at Newcastle last November.
The polesitter led throughout the first stint, though he did spend the opening half a dozen laps under pressure from David Reynolds.
As the stint wore on Whincup took control, and had extended his lead to around five seconds before Reynolds made his first pitstop just before the one-third distance on lap 23. Whincup followed suit three laps later, but did not return in the race lead.
That went to McLaughlin, who, after running in seventh for the first seven laps, opted for a very early stop and a lot of clean-air running.
The reigning champion ran a long middle stint, and did not stop again until lap 42.
Whincup, who needed to take on less fuel, waited another five laps, and predictably reclaimed the lead.
The first stint undercut was still good enough to leave McLaughlin sitting second, although he swiftly came under attack from van Gisbergen.
The factory Holden driver had jumped Will Davison during the first round of stops to move into fourth, then did likewise to Reynolds during the second visits to the pits.
With some help from an out-of-sync Scott Pye, van Gisbergen was then able to close right up on the back of McLaughlin's #17 Penske Ford with around 20 laps to go.
But while van Gisbergen shadowed McLaughlin, there was no way through. McLaughlin managed to split the two factory Holdens at the finish, as Whincup cruised to a five-second win.
"I had a rocket today, the car was excellent," Whincup said.
"These [DJR Team Penske] boys are fast, but obviously we had track position, we were up the road a little bit.
"I've got to dedicate this one to Holden, it's been a bloody tough week for everyone involved and it's great to get a win."
Reynolds slipped backed to fourth at the flag, followed by Davison, Cam Waters and Chaz Mostert.
The two Tickford Mustangs of Davison and Waters and ex-Tickford-turned-Holden driver Mostert were inseparable for much of the race, including some panel-rubbing around the stops.
Mark Winterbottom finished eighth, as Rick Kelly scored a well-deserved ninth on Kelly Racing's debut as a Ford squad.
Fabian Coulthard was 10th ahead of Lee Holdsworth and Andre Heimgartner, leaving Jack Le Brocq as the only Mustang outside of the top 12, the Tickford debutant finishing 16th.
Nick Percat's season got off to the worst possible start, his Brad Jones Racing Commodore suffering a steering rack failure on the warm-up lap.
He tried to take the start, but took refuge down an escape road after a handful of corners.
Percat did get going again 10-odd laps later, but lost another three laps and was classified 22nd.
Result - 78 laps
|1||Jamie Whincup||Triple Eight||Holden||1h47m22.9298s|
|2||Scott McLaughlin||DJR Penske||Ford||5.2378s|
|3||Shane van Gisbergen||Triple Eight||Holden||6.9226s|
|5||Will Davison||23Red Racing||Ford||15.2634s|
|10||Fabian Coulthard||DJR Penske||Ford||32.9784s|
|13||Todd Hazelwood||Brad Jones||Holden||37.1476s|
|14||Anton De Pasquale||Erebus||Holden||50.8034s|
|16||Jack Le Brocq||Tickford||Ford||1m09.0179s|
|17||Macauley Jones||Tim Blanchard||Holden||1m09.6023s|
|18||Zane Goddard||Matt Stone||Holden||1 Lap|
|19||Chris Pither||Sydney||Holden||1 Lap|
|20||Jack Smith||Brad Jones||Holden||2 Laps|
|21||Bryce Fullwood||Walkinshaw||Holden||5 Laps|
|22||Nick Percat||Brad Jones||Holden||13 Laps|
|-||Garry Jacobson||Matt Stone||Holden||Retirement|