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 Not classified/retirements: Driver Make Laps Dean Fiore Holden 56 Marcus Marshall Ford 53 Jason Bargwanna Holden 44 Tim Slade Holden 17 Greg Murphy Holden 5