Unstoppable Whincup roars on in Supercars

Ben McKay
AAP

Jamie Whincup has continued his ferocious run of Supercars form, claiming success in the opening race at Symmons Plains.

In a throwback result, Craig Lowndes and James Courtney joined him on the podium after Kiwi favourites Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin faded from the front.

Tyre degradation dogged van Gisbergen as he dropped from pole to sixth, while an electrical fault impeded McLaughlin's top speed on his way to a ninth-place finish.

Seven-time champ Whincup had no such problems, scorching his way across the Tasmanian circuit.

He undercut van Gisbergen, the polesitter, with a sharper pit stop and was never challenged for the lead.

"The crew gave me an absolute rocket today. It was so fast," he said.

"I came out in a good lead and controlled it from there."

The result means Whincup hasn't missed the podium in five races since a rare DNF in Adelaide.

His second win in that run means he now sits third in the title race, just 59 points behind leader van Gisbergen.

"The gearbox blow-up in Adelaide really hurt so I need every point I can get," he said.

Lowndes also delighted in his first point-scoring podium finish since Sydney in 2016.

"Last year was really terrible for us ... but this car suits me. The track suits me. I like the older style of Dunlop tyre," he said.

"We had a great battle there with Shane in the middle. He started to struggle a little bit and I could see Jamie in front."

The veteran finished third in Tasmania last year but the race points were struck off by officials after a horrific crash that sent nine cars out of the race and Will Davison to hospital.

As it has been all weekend in Tasmania, race pace was ferocious.

Four drivers went below the previous race lap record, which is now held by Scott Pye after his 51.2622 second effort.

Pye started seventh on the grid but failed to cash in after stalling during his pit stop.

David Reynolds continued his early-season momentum with fourth place, while Fabian Coulthard was the biggest mover through the field, starting 11th but finishing fifth.

In another strong day for Commodores, 11 of the top 13 finishers wore the Holden lion badge.

Chaz Mostert had the direst day, struggling in the new three-stage qualifying format before seeing his Falcon caught fire in the pit lane.

His DNF dropped him from fourth in the standings to 10th.

SUPERCARS RACE 7 RESULTS

1. Jamie Whincup (Holden)

2. Craig Lowndes (Holden)

3. James Courtney (Holden)

4. David Reynolds (Holden)

5. Fabian Coulthard (Ford)

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

1. Shane van Gisbergen (Holden)

2. David Reynolds (Holden)

3. Jamie Whincup (Holden)

4. Scott McLaughlin (Ford)

5. James Courtney (Holden)