Jamie Whincup has begun his crusade to regain the V8 Supercars crown in the strongest fashion possible after producing a flawless performance to win the opening Clipsal 500 race at Adelaide.

The Red Bull Racing Australia driver controlled the race right from the word go to record his tenth victory around the streets of Adelaide, taking him also to his 98th career win in the series.

Whincup didn't allow the maiden pole-sitter Scott Pye to enjoy his time at the front for all that long as the six-time champion, immediately looking to atone for his 2015 title loss, made the killer blow off the start line and led into turn 1.

Despite Pye's initial effort of managing to stabilise the rate of Whincup's surge, the race leading Holden Commodore began to take the race by the scruff of it's neck as soft tyre conservation started to dictate the course of the afternoon.

By the time the race leaders opted to make the trip down pit-road, Whincup's relentless sequence of laps left the Red Bull racer in a more than favourable position.

An immaculate pit-stop easily preserved Whincup's lead but a safety car - triggered directly after his stop by Tim Slade - allowed the chasing pack to close on the leader.

HRT's James Courtney was the winner of the pit phase and found himself as Whincup's No.1 contender with just under half of the race to go.

Courtney's gain came at the expense of pole-sitter Pye, who was forced to relinquish second position following a small pit-lane blunder.

Whincup was briefly forced to call upon his defensive sills as Courtney attempted to rattle the leader. However, it didn't take long for the then 97-time race winner to shake the attentions of the leading HRT runner.

Able to take his foot off the accelerator slightly, the Triple Eight driver cruised home to a near four-second margin ahead of Courtney while Shane Van Gisbergen held off his fellow Kiwi Scott McLaughlin to record his first podium in Red Bull colours, despite battling the flu.

Garth Tander made a late move to steal fifth from Nissan's Todd Kelly, who in turn successfully resisted the pressure from Craig Lowndes in seventh.

Lowndes had started his record breaking 251st race outside of the top-ten but the TeamVortex driver made good use of an alternative strategy after deciding to pit early in the race.

Mark Winterbottom kicked off his title defence with a quiet afternoon in eighth with Rick Kelly and Fabian Coulthard rounding out the top-ten.

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