MELBOURNE- Holden Commodore driver Larry Perkins splashed his way to victory in Round one of the Shell Australian Touring Car Championship at Melbourne's Sandown Raceway.

Perkins took advantage of a spin by pole sitter John Bowe in his Ford Falcon EF to lead home a GM trifecta in the 1st heat held in attrocious conditions.

Former World 500cc champion Wayne Gardner had a fine drive to come home in second with local legend and ageing juvinille lead Peter Brock celebrating his 25th year in Motor Sport by finishing third.

Perkins started from pole in heat two which was held on a slightly drying track. Brock blew his good work in the first heat by having to start from the pit lane.

Perkins led away but as the track dried Bowe's Falcon came through the field and began to pressure for the lead. With his tyres rapidly going off Perkins lost his VR Commodore with only two laps to go allowing Bowe to take the win for Ford. Perkins recovered to be 2rd with Bowe's team leader Dick Johnson in 3rd.

Overall however it was Perkins day with the overall win from Bowe and Gardner. After the meeting a major row erupted between Bowe and fellow Ford punters Glen Seton and Tony Longhust with Bowe being given a suspended fine of $5000 for alledgedly pushing Seton off the track in Heat 2.

Bowe -- who the night before had been named Australian Motor Sports Person of the year-accused both Seton and Longhust of Jealousy and of ganging up on him to try and put him out of racing.

The next round will be held in Bowe's home state of Tasmania at Symmons Plains.

-- Brett Ramsey Check out Media 3 at