3 Mar 2018

Van Gisbergen starts season with a roar

8:18 pm on 3 March 2018

New Zealand driver Shane Van Gisbergen has continued his Adelaide love affair, winning this year's Supercars opener on the streets of the South Australian capital.

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen Photo: Photosport

The Holden driver, who won both races last year in Adelaide, held off James Courtney and Ford rival Scott McLaughlin to open his 2018 campaign in perfect style.

Courtney, with a great record himself in Adelaide, finished second to give the renamed Walkinshaw Andretti United team a great start to life with their international partner Michael Andretti watching in the garage.

McLaughlin came in third as the DJR Team Penske star showed no ill-effects from last year's heartbreaking final round in Newcastle where he surrendered the championship with a post-race penalty.

The 78-lap race looked like it was turning into a strategy battle with Van Gisbergen, who started from pole position, getting the jump on Courtney and McLaughlin with a mid-race pit stop.

The New Zealander had chosen to make his second and final stop after his rivals and jumped both to take a lead he wouldn't relinquish.

Three safety cars in quick succession - including a crash involving rookies James Golding, Richie Stanaway and Todd Hazelwood - bunched the field, but Van Gisbergen quickly pulled away with his brand-new ZB Commodore proving too fast for the field.

Defending champion Jamie Whincup, whose car underwent a 12-hour overnight rebuild after a crash in Friday's qualifying session, finished sixth just behind Ford veteran Mark Winterbottom. Bathurst 1000 champion David Reynolds was just off the podium in fourth.

The Adelaide 500 wraps up with another 250km race.