Jamie Whincup began the 2008 V8 Supercar Championship series with the perfect result in the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide on Saturday by fighting his way back to claim the leg 1 victory.
Whincup, who narrowly missed out on the title in 2007, put in an impressive drive and while a lengthy pit-stop dropped him back, when he had to have a new battery fitted to his #88 Ford Falcon, in the end it didn't stop him from taking P1.
Indeed the Team Vodafone man charged back through the pack and from 20th after his pit-stops he was up to third by lap 61.
A safety car on nine laps later then closed the gap between Whincup and his team-mate, the second placed Craig Lowndes and Jamie passed him on lap 71. He then reeled in race leader, Mark Winterbottom and muscled by the FPR man with just two laps to go.
"250km is a very long race distance to start the year off with," Whincup reflected. "But the car felt great all race and I am also feeling good.
"We did have a minor electrical issue which delayed our pitstop by five to six seconds so the team had to completely change our strategy after that. Great teamwork paid off today though and I have to say this victory is up there as one of my best. To come through the pack and win like that was very satisfying."
Winterbottom meanwhile had to settle for the runners-up spot and he wasn't at all happy with the way Whincup barged passed.
"What can I say? I feel I was pushed out of the way and he probably felt that he had the room," Mark told the official V8 website. "It sets the standards for the rest of the year so I'm not going to sit here and complain about it."
Lowndes completed the podium, having lost out in the final section of the race, in part due to a deflating right rear tyre.
"At this track it is always important to get a good start and I was quite surprised how cautious the race pace was early on," Craig stated. "Our mid race strategy was spot on allowing me to remain competitive with Frosty and Tander.
"We did suffer a couple of car issues, with the front sway bar the biggest concern as it locked on in one position. It is a credit to the team however that our off season preparation has been so thorough, there is no better result than two cars on the podium."
The hard-charging Lee Holdsworth from the Valvoline Cummins race team was next up in fourth and easily the best of the Holdens, while Ford Performance Racing's Steven Richards rounded out the top five, followed by Jim Beam Racing duo Steve Johnson and Will Davison.