Reigning V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup has won the opening race of the season deciding weekend around the streets of Sydney after fending his 2016 team mate, Shane Van Gisbergen.

The Red Bull Racing Australia driver has no chance of retaining his 2014 crown since dropping out of the title race in New Zealand but Whincup's seventh victory of 2015 narrowly keeps the championship alive for his team mate Craig Lowndes.

However, it would take a herculean effort from Lowndes to deny the long-time points leader Mark Winterbottom a maiden crown as fifth position for the Prodrive Ford driver leaves him on the brink of securing the 2015 championship.

Despite coming off the back of a near perfect Phillip Island weekend, the hopes of Lowndes came crashing back down to earth after finding the tyre barriers in qualifying. The Triple Eight driver staged somewhat of a recovery but it was good enough for 15th position.

Winterbottom had started the opening race on pole position but the Pepsi Max Ford Falcon FG X slowly but surely dropped down the order as the race progressed.

In the end, it was Whincup who took the spoils but only after resisting a prolonged period of pressure from Tekno Autosport's Van Gisbergen in second.

Team BOC's Jason Bright scored only his second podium of the year in third after holding off the leading factory Holden effort of James Courtney in fourth.

Winterbottom was the first non-Holden in fifth ahead of the Supercheap Auto Racing entry of Tim Slade in sixth.

Nissan Motorsport's Rick Kelly finished where he started in seventh while Volvo's Scott McLaughlin and The Bottle-O Racing Falcon FG X of David Reynolds both progressed up the order to finish in eighth and ninth ahead of Freightliner Racing's Fabian Coulthard in tenth.