Jamie Whincup has done it again.
After a lap one battle that gave Ford Performance Racing hope that Will Davison could convert his pole position to a race win, the TeamVodafone driver and championship put a stop to that all too quickly.
Whincup passed Davison for the lead at the end of the first lap and ran away to win the first race of the weekend by just over four seconds.
It was his 9th win of the year, the 61st in his glittering career and also extended his title lead as a bonus.
van Gisbergen had slipped past Davison on the second lap and briefly held second place, though the TradingPost FPR driver was quickly able to return the favor and gap the New Zealander for second and third.
The battle of the race was fought in the back half of the top-10, a charging Craig Lowndes injecting life into a race-long dice with Holden Racing Team driver Garth Tander.
Lowndes started 10th but made up two places early in the race to pressure Tander for much of the duration. Tander, as always, was stout in his defence and would hold out Lowndes for the duration.
Mark Winterbottom became involved in the battle late in the race, passing Lowndes at turn 8 with two laps to go when the TeamVodafone Holden ran wide after missing a braking marker.
The Orrcon Ford Performance Racing Falcon then set out after Tander and ultimately passed him on the final lap to take sixth – but still a long way behind his title rival Whincup.
With Tander seventh and Lowndes eighth at the end, James Moffat was one of the star performers in finishing 9th.
The Team Norton DJR driver made up five places throughout the race with a determined performance that made up for his disappointing qualifying result – given he will start inside the Top 10 in the remaining two races.
Jonathon Webb completed the 10 after running out of rear tyres towards the end of the race and facing a massive fight with Fabian Coulthard and team-mate Michael Patrizi.
James Moffat wasn’t the only Dick Johnson Racing driver on the move; both Steven Johnson and Dean Fiore making up 7 places each to work their way closer towards the Top 10.
Alex Premat was hit from behind and turned around after Tony D’Alberto and Rick Kelly made contact – amongst others – at the tight hairpin before the long back straight.
The damage claimed James Courtney – who pitted early and retired – and Rick Kelly, who would retire later in the race with smoke billowing from his Kelly Racing Holden.
Race 25 will be held at 11:50am local time (17:50pm Australian Eastern time) and will be broadcast live on 7mate.
The race will mark Russell Ingall’s 500th championship race start.
V8 Supercars Australia