Mark Winterbottom’s first day with the V8 Supercars car No.1 didn’t go as planned.
In fact, there was barely a smile among the six Fords in the field.
It was quite the contrast to Friday when Scott Pye and Chaz Mostert won the season’s opening pole positions.
Across two races, Winterbottom went backwards from his grid position twice for a best position of eighth.
His Prodrive Racing teammate Cam Waters – on debut as a full member of the team – wasn’t able to crack the top 10.
Mostert had the best day, turning his pole into third place.
Pye started race one from pole but ended up back in 12th after a pit-lane blunder.
DJR Team Penske debutant Fabian Coulthard finished 10th and 14th, but did manage to move forward from his grid.
The darkest day belonged to Chris Pither, who crashed out on the circuit’s fastest turn and sustained too much damage to his Falcon to make it back onto the track for Sunday’s 250 kilometre race.
Winterbottom was matter of fact about his first day as reigning champion.
“The car isn’t there,” he said.
“We’re off the pace but you just try and stay out of trouble and survive.
“We’ll fix it hopefully tonight and come back out tomorrow.”
Awaiting the entire field is another day of sweltering conditions, with the mercury predicted to hit 37 degrees.
Mostert said he’d be taking every precaution to stay fit and sharp to build on his opending day podium.
“We’re lucky to have ice baths, ours wasn’t working too well today. We’ve tuned that up,” he said.
“We’ll throw some bags of ice in there tomorrow and chill out.
Mostert has brought a physio to the Adelaide street circuit to help treat his leg, which he broke at last year’s Bathurst 1000.
He brushed off concerns he wouldn’t be fit enough to compete well in Sunday’s 250 kilometre race.
“I feel 100 per cent in the car. Outside of the car I’m still limping around a little bit,” he said.
“I didn’t struggle so much with my body, I’m exhausted because 125ks in that heat is still long … tomorrow’s going to be a be slugfest.”