Team Vodafone?s Jamie Whincup has made it three wins from three starts this season after blitzing the opposition to secure victory in race one of the Hamilton 400 in New Zealand.
Starting from second on the grid, Whincup made a strong start, immediately placing Ford Performance Racing?s Mark Winterbottom under pressure before snatching the lead on turn six of the opening lap.
From there he rarely struggled, dictating the pace in domineering fashion to end Ford?s five year drought in New Zealand and crossing the finish line ahead of Winterbottom and Garry Rogers Motorsport entry Lee Holdsworth.
Whincup shunned caution throughout the race, pushing his Falcon to its limits before breaking the lap record in the dying stages of the race.
?I was just pushing 110 per cent,? Whincup said. ?I almost nudged the wall a couple of times. It was fantastic to win the first event.
?To do a record it?s obviously a good car, and the lack of tyres in the chicane helped. You could pretty much straight-line the chicane.?
Despite taking the second step of the podium, Winterbottom was left frustrated by a minor mechanical problem that killed his chances of challenging Whincup.
?I should take up drag racing, I?m good until the corners, aren?t I?? he said, referring to his lightning start at the lights.
?On lap one I knew we were in trouble when he (Whincup) just went past. But there?s no use tangling on lap one to hold him out when you are struggling a bit anyway.?