Ford young gun Chaz Mostert has won an action-packed opening V8 Supercars sprint in Darwin, but it was a day to forget for Holden and their star drivers.
Mostert held the lead from start to finish after getting the jump on polesitter James Courtney, crossing the line ahead of championship leader and Prodrive Racing Australia teammate Mark Winterbottom.
Rick Kelly led a trio of Nissans to finish third, with James Moffat fourth and Michael Caruso fifth.
PRA have now won four races in a row.
“This track is a bit of a bogey of mine, so it was fantastic to get a front-row start and to win the race is awesome,” said Mostert.
“What better for the team than to get a 1-2?”
Mostert and Winterbottom managed to avoid a heap of carnage on the freshly resurfaced Hidden Valley circuit, which triggered two safety cars and forced two early retirements.
The Red Bull Commodores of Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes were both caught up in opening lap incidents, while Holden Racing Team comrades Courtney and Garth Tander collided on the penultimate lap.
Whincup finished the race 11th and Lowndes – second in the title race – 18th.
It was worse for Tander and Courtney, who crossed the line 20th and 23rd respectively.
Coulthard remains third overall despite being the first of the retirements after his opening-lap collision with Whincup – ruining a promising debut for his new Commodore `Alice’.
Lowndes was spun moments later by Tim Blanchard, whose subsequent run-off caused a grass fire and the first safety car.
The incident also led to Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin’s retirement with damage to his front suspension.
The drama didn’t stop there with several cars sliding off the tarmac, including the Falcon of Friday’s fastest man David Reynolds.
Lowndes was one of those – putting himself in the grass with five laps to go, sparking another fire and second safety car.
There was more madness on the restart, with Courtney, Tander and Shane van Gisbergen all clashing.
Saturday’s second 21-lap race was scheduled for 5.15pm (AEST).