Red Bull Racing Australia's Jamie Whincup vows to use his difficult afternoon as motivation for the rest of the 2016 V8 Supercars season following a scarcely believable conclusion to the Clipsal 500.

Whincup had qualified fifth for the main event of the Adelaide weekend but became one of the first casualties of the apocalyptic conditions, when the six-time champion was turned around by HRT's Garth Tander - sending him tumbling down the order and out of position.

The Triple Eight driver admitted his Holden Commodore simply didn't have the pace for the wet conditions and struggled to make any headway amid the volatile weather cells and fuel drop confusion, finishing 15th as a result.

Whincup still emerges from the opening three races sitting second in the points table, just 15 behind the surprise leader Michael Caruso.

"What on earth just happened then? The biggest problem was we didn't have enough pace in the wet and I also turned around twice," said Whincup.

"We all stayed calm and took the curve balls as they came but we were on the wrong end of the bargain today. I said to the boys as I was crossing the line that we need to use this as motivation.

"It's going to be a tough year so we just need to keep doing a good job and we should be there at the end."