Red Bull Racing Australia has reminded the field why the team was the 2013 Champion team, with a defiant one-two finish in the first race of the season.
The 125km race is new to the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, but Jamie Whincup has racked up his eighth race win at the street circuit, leading home Craig Lowndes and Shane van Gisbergen.
While van Gisbergen was right on the tail of Lowndes mid-race, he fell away at the end despite having changed four tyres to Lowndes’ two in the race's compulsory pit stop.
“Those cars were in another league, they were unbelievable,” van Gisbergen said of the Red Bulls.
“We’ve got a bit of work to do… We’ve got stuff we can tweak but they are a fair way ahead.”
Whincup described the #1 Commodore as fantastic but knows there’s a tough challenge ahead of him in the second race, still to come and be staged in twilight conditions.
“We saw from qualy it’s going to be close, it’s going to be dog eat dog for every point you can get. I really enjoyed the scrap with Gizzy and Lowndesy, I felt like I was at the (Bathurst) 12-Hour … Short turn around, let’s go again!”
Lowndes had the jump on Whincup at the start, but an early pit stop for the #1 – and some speedy lap times – saw Whincup lead once times were adjusted.
“I think it was good, nice to have a one-two at the start and at the finish," Lowndes said. "We qualified that way and finished that way, it was good.”
It wasn’t a great start to the year for new FPR recruit Chaz Mostert, who was into the tyres on lap one, and stablemate Dave Reynolds who had a reasonable front on crash.
Mark Winterbottom came home fourth, with Fabian Coulthard, Rick Kelly, Scott McLaughlin, Jason Bright, James Courtney and Scott Pye completing the top 10.
Others to note include Garth Tander 11th, Russell Ingall 12, Will Davison 13, Todd Kelly 15 after a strong early run, and Robert Dahlgren 21 on debut.