TeamVodafone has belted its V8 Supercars opponents in the opening race of the Trading Post Perth Challenge at Barbagallo Raceway today.
Whincup led from start to finish, while Lowndes executed one of the few on-track passing moves on front-row starter Will Davison (on lap 24) to take second place.
Davison finished in third – his first with Ford Performance Racing.
Jim Beam Racing's Steve Johnson ran in third place at the start of the race but lost his podium spot after Lowndes jumped him during the pit stops.
Pitting late turned out to be the key strategy. Van Gisbergen was the best of the late stoppers, while Jason Bargwanna (Jana Living Racing) leapt from 21st on the grid to 11th.
Brad Jones Racing drivers Jason Bright (Team BOC) and Karl Reindler (Fair Dinkum Sheds) finished sixth and seventh ahead of Mark Winterbottom (Orrcon Steel FPR), Rick Kelly (Jack Daniel's Racing) and James Courtney (Toll Holden Racing Team).
James Moffat made a meal of the start and dropped from a career-best ninth to outside the top 20 by the first corner. He recovered well to 18th.
Paul Dumbrell was the only driver to fail to finish, coming off second best in a clash with Moffat at the final turn on lap 40.
Tomorrow will see two 50 lap affairs on the soft Dunlop tyre.
CLICK HERE for the full race result