Ford flyer Scott McLaughlin is still the one to beat after blitzing the field from pole in the first Supercars race since February.
The two-time defending champion showed no signs of rust as the championship resumed at Sydney Motorsport Park on Saturday, producing a dominant drive in the first of three 33-lap races this weekend.
Despite the best efforts of Red Bull Holden’s Shane van Gisbergen, McLaughlin secured a stunning victory – the 45th of his Supercars career.
The 27-year-old is just three wins away from equalling legend Peter Brock in fifth-place on the all-time series win list.
Van Gisbergen closed in on his New Zealand rival during a thrilling final six laps, but McLaughlin held off several overtaking attempts to take the chequered flag at a spectator-less track in western Sydney.
It was the closest finish at Sydney Motorsport Park since 1996.
Seven-time champion Jamie Whincup rounded out the podium, but finished well back from the two frontrunners and never looked a chance of pinching victory.
Former Ford favourite Chaz Mostert (fourth) continued his impressive form since switching to Holden in the off-season, while Nick Percat crossed the line in fifth.
McLaughlin and Whincup won the only two previously completed races of the season so far, sharing honours at the Adelaide 500 in February.
Practice sessions were held for the Australian Grand Prix round in March before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the event.