Mitch Evans and Ben Crighton have put on quite the show to kick off the 2010 Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship at Wakefield Park, in overcast but dry conditions today.
Whilst Evans scored the Meguiar's pole award this morning, it was the first sprint race of the season - held over 16 laps - that was the biggest talking point of the day.
From the first lap to last, Team BRM's Evans and TanderSport's Crighton drove at eleven-tenths in a tense battle for the lead that saw the younger of the two Kiwis take the win by just one second, whilst Crighton left with the new outright lap record.
Crighton's new benchmark topped the five-year old mark by one-tenth of a second to leave it at 54.56s.
Tom Tweedie finished third whilst Ben Barker scored fourth, after spending much of the first eight laps battling fiercely with John Magro.
Barker started the race from sixth (he qualified third) after being sent to the back of the grid post-qualifying when an errant rock smashed a hole in the Team BRM's air box, causing it to fail tech inspection.
In his first F3 race, Barker learnt the craft of 'wings and slicks' racing and pulled a swift move on Magro into the final corner to leap forward to fourth place after an entertaining battle.
Magro was fifth whilst Zhang Shan Qi continued his learning curve in his Team BRM with PTRS Racing Dallara to score solid points in sixth.
It was an entertaining race to start the season and the new race format implemented this year.
Earlier, it was Mitch Evans who slammed in a last-minute flier to win the first Meguiar's Pole award of the season.
The grinning New Zealander took home a personalised Meguiar's jacket, a package of sponsor's product and a $150 cash bonus for his efforts in the sole 25-minute session; the Quick Six shootout returns at Symmons plains in April.
Evans posted a sub-record 54.5071s lap moments after a red flag and with just seconds to go in the session, to take top spot ahead of fellow Kiwi Ben Crighton – in a career best performance - and teammate Ben Barker.
Evans leads the Gold Star point's race with 13 points, two ahead of Crighton on 10 and Tweedie on 8.
The second sprint race will be held 11.00 hours [local time], followed by the feature race and podium at 14:00 hours [local time].