Mattias Ekstrom started the defence of his World Rallycross Championship title with victory at Barcelona, leading the final from lights to flag.
Ekstrom converted pole position for the final into a lead at the first corner - one that he would not cede.
Fellow two-time DTM champion Timo Scheider impressed on his first start for MJP Racing Team Austria, climbing from row two to second position at Turn 1.
Scheider shadowed Ekstrom throughout the race and crossed the line just 0.362 seconds behind Ekstrom's Audi S1.
But while the leading pair enjoyed smooth races, the battle for third was a four-way fight between Johan Kristoffersson, Petter Solberg, Andreas Bakkerud and Timmy Hansen.
Having won the first semi-final of the season, Kristoffersson's PSRX Volkswagen Polo bogged down at the start, causing team-mate Solberg to take immediate evasive action.
As Bakkerud hung his Ford Focus around the outside of the first corner to move into third, Solberg cleared Peugeot 208 driver Timmy Hansen - who like Kristoffersson didn't make the best start - to run fourth on the opening lap.
By the time the pack entered the hairpin for the first time, Kristoffersson had closed in on the rear of the field, and made a last-minute call to follow Solberg onto the joker lap on the first tour.
Hansen was next to take his joker on lap two, and dived up the inside of Kristoffersson into the first corner of lap three after the Polo driver had a sideways exit from the Spanish circuit's final corner.
Bakkerud, fighting back from a non-finish in Q2 on Saturday, took his joker on lap three and passed Solberg around the outside at Turn 1 on lap four - a move that proved critical to the outcome of the race.
With the leading pair out of sight, Bakkerud backed up the rest of the pack in the final stages of the race but held onto third to complete the podium, ahead of Solberg, Hansen fifth and Kristoffersson.
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