Craig Lowndes has won race one at the Coates Hire Ipswich 300, making it four wins from the last four starts at the track.
Lowndes led off the line and was unchallenged throughout the race despite a hairy moment with Mark Winterbottom in pit lane.
Engine problems haunted Lowndes’s car and during the three hour break between practice and qualifying the team replaced it.
Saturday morning practice is not a usual session at most rounds, something Lowndes acknowledges as luck.
“We were lucky we had a practice session, usually that’s qualifying,” he said.
“It’s a great build up for tomorrow.”
Whincup bogged down at the start and found himself piloting a recovery job for the remainder of the race.
“I had a clutch issue, sounds like an excuse but that was the issue there,” said Whincup.
Few laps in Michael Caruso became unstuck at turn one, which then triggered David Reynolds and Tony
D’alberto to fire off the track.
Caruso and D’alberto were buried deep and miraculously managed to escape, but not before the safety car was called onto the circuit.
It gave Whincup a chance to pit for soft tyres and charge his way back through the grid.
“That was a bit of fun, coming through the pack on soft tyres while they were all on hards,” he said.
It also eliminated the issue of double stacking for Team Vodafone.
“I had a clutch issue, sounds like an excuse but that was the issue there.”
David Reynolds was suffering from tonsillitis but that didn’t stop him chipping away at the field after his early race tangle.
Formula one world champion Jaques Villeneuve had a tight battle with Taz Douglas in the later stage of the race but spun himself when he locked the brakes at the final corner.
Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander was called into pits early to replace the steering arm and found himself five laps down in 27th at the end of the day.
A poor strategy for Will Davison had him drop from fourth at the start to finish sixth despite punching out quick times.
Dean Fiore improved his career best finish, coming home in 11th for Dick Johnson Racing.
Todd Kelly was awarded a 25 point post race penalty after spinning Jason Bright at turn six in the dying laps.
Tekno Autosports Jonathon Webb was the only car not to finish, his race ended with a broken header with ten laps to go.
The longer 200km race two will be held tomorrow afternoon.
Top Ten V8 Supercars Championship Series Race 16 Results - Coates Hire Ipswich 300
1: Craig Lowndes
2: Mark Winterbottom
3: Jamie Whincup
4: Fabian Coulthard
5: Russell Ingall
6: Will Davison
7: Shane Van Gisbergen
8: Michael Caruso
9: Tim Slade
10: Steven Johnson
Top Ten V8 Supercar Championship Series Points Standings:
1: Jamie Whincup, 1923 pts.
2: Mark Winterbottom, 1832 pts.
3: Will Davison, 1756 pts.
4: Craig Lowndes, 1646 pts.
5: Shane Van Gisbergen, 1376 pts.
6: Garth Tander, 1263 pts.
7: Tim Slade, 1254 pts.
8: Lee Holdsworth, 1217 pts.
9: Fabian Coulthard, 1150 pts.
10: David Reynolds, 990 pts.