In third on Sunday, van Gisbergen's margin to the top was only three seconds, and he was buoyed by overnight changes to help improve the package.
Triple Eight struggled at the Phillip Island pre-season test with the switch back to linear springs, but has clearly already made tidy progress on getting its Commodores dialled in.
It will also be encouraged by the form of Winterbottom and Todd Hazelwood in customer machines across the weekend.
Hazelwood has stepped into Whincup's 2018 ZB for his second Supercars season, and on Sunday made his maiden ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout and finished a career-best 10th.
Tails between legs
The Walkinshaw Andretti United era started in style in Adelaide in 2018, with new co-owner Michael Andretti there to witness James Courtney grab a podium and the squad leave atop the teams' championship.
Twelve months later, its best race result of a lacklustre season opener was a 10th for Courtney, and Mobil 1 MEGA Racing is 10th in the teams' championship, only ahead of the single-car entrants.
What stands out beyond that year-on-year drop is that the Clayton Commodores have always been strong in Adelaide, even when the package was misfiring at other venues.
Before last weekend, it had only failed to claim a podium at the street circuit in one visit since 2009.