Jamie Whincup has taken his first victory since Sydney Motorsport Park in August, winning the first sprint at the ITM 500 Auckland.
The six-time champion earned his third ARMOR ALL Pole Position of 2015 and led from start to finish after a great jump off the start line, with The Bottle-O’s David Reynolds alongside.
“That was good, best start I’ve had here in Auckland,” Whincup said.
“The sun’s out, nice day – to get a pole and a win is a great result.”
The Red Bull racer came home ahead of Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen and David Reynolds after 21 laps around Pukekohe Park.
An early incident between Tim Slade and Will Davison saw the Penrite Mercedes spin and catch innocent bystander Fabian Coulthard on the first lap sending both cars into the pit lane, with the Freightliner Commodore. The incident will be investigated post-race.
Coulthard was able to rejoin one lap down but his teammate Jason Bright failed to finish the race with dramas on the final lap leaving him stranded on the circuit.
The Safety Car intervened on lap five so debris on the circuit could be retrieved, but Whincup maintained control after the restart.
Reynolds made an error allowing Shane van Gisbergen through into second position, while Scott Pye’s late run off at turn five gifted Craig Lowndes fourth on the last lap. Pye was ordered by race control to redress on the road and allow Lowndes through, though the position change had not been completed when the cars crossed the line.
Nissan’s Michael Caruso was sixth on the road, ahead of points leader Mark Winterbottom, James Courtney, Scott McLaughlin and Garth Tander.
Tander was a big mover during the race, up from 17th to 10th in his Holden Racing Team Commodore.
The first race of the day was run on hard Dunlop tyres, with the soft tyre to run in the second.
Reynolds starts on pole, with Lowndes alongside, and winner Whincup from fourth.