Shell Helix Racing's Max Wilson scored his best result of the year in today's first race of the VIP Petfoods Main Event the final round of the 2003 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Eastern Creek.

With the team making major gains in car speed over the past few rounds, Wilson was determined to finish what has been a difficult year on a high note.

Getting his day off on the right foot, Wilson qualified his Shell Helix Falcon in sixth place during the V8 Supercars' first Formula One style, full-field shootout.

Still firing in the day's 150km race, Wilson made a brilliant move off the start line, leap-frogging Craig Lowndes and slotting into fifth place on the opening lap.

"The car felt really good and I got run at Craig off the start line and managed to get by him," Wilson said.

The Wilson-Lowndes battle continued throughout the afternoon with the pair separated by six-tenths at the end of the race.

Wilson's team-mate, Steve Johnson, suffered a very different fate in today's 150km race.

Qualifying in 12th position, Johnson was confident that his Falcon had a strong race package to be able to move up the order during today's race.

However, that was not to be the case as the ill-fortuned Johnson was involved in yet another incident with Garth Tander on the opening laps.

The over-ambitious Tander tagged the rear of the #17 Falcon, turning Johnson around and dropping him back to 26th place.

Johnson fought back fiercely, claiming 10 positions in the following seven laps.

Even though he managed to work his way back into the top 10, he was shuffled back down the order after making his compulsory pit stop and eventually finished in 21st place.

"It's so disappointing when other guys make moves like that and we both pay the penalty," Johnson said. "And it ruins more than just today, it really compromises our race for tomorrow, but we'll get out there and do what we can."

Wilson, who is in a more positive position heading into tomorrow's 250km race, has a simple strategy for the event.

"It's going to be a long, hot race tomorrow and my plan is to look after my tyres, stay out of trouble and get the best result I can."

The 2003 V8 Supercar Championship Series concludes tomorrow in Eastern Creek with the VIP Pet Foods Main Event.