THE Red Bull domination was easy enough to pick - but their biggest challenger was a what? A Volvo?
Craig Lowndes won last night's Clipsal 500 Race 2 twilight fight but there was only one man who owned Adelaide on the opening day of the new V8 Supercars season - Volvo sensation Scott McLaughlin.
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The 2013 rookie of the year Scott McLaughlin took his rookie Swedish ride to second in last night's second 125km sprint, holding off defending champion and Race 1 winner Jamie Whincup and upstaging established rivals and manufacturers with a drive built on guts and defiance.
McLaughlin, who also qualified second, was faced with holding off Whincup for 11 long laps after the five-time champ caught him on the 28th lap.
Whincup took second spot at the final hairpin but McLaughlin regained position when Whincup ran wide at the thrilling final turn, prompting a standing ovation on the home straight.
"I gave it some jam and f*** yeah," an exuberant McLaughlin said of the final move.
"My boys, man, I can't thank them enough. All the fans, you guys were playing Volvo jokes, but I guess they're gone now.
So popular was McLaughlin's victory, the Adelaide crowd booed Whincup for almost snatching silver
Volvo's outright speed and the 20-year-old's skill behind the wheel halted a Red Bull double one-two.
The pre-race concern about glare from the setting sun at turn four amounted to little on track, with no major incidents at the blinding run out of the chicane.
But turn six, with a similar view, tossed up a brush that is likely to reappear on an end-of-season bloopers reel.
James Courtney was left with an open suicide door when his passenger side peeled back after he dived for a tight gap between South Australian Scott Pye and Erebus driver Lee Holdsworth.
The 2010 drivers champion tried to scrape the outer wall to lose the door but was shown a mechanical black flag.
Mechanics yanked the offending bodywork free and Courtney was cleared to continue racing with a door-sized air vent.
Whincup suffered an early setback when he was held up in his pitstop. Just as teammate Lowndes suffered a wheelnut problem in Race 1, there was a delay changing the Whincup's right-rear tyre.
The setback left Whincup behind Lee Holdsworth, who was among the first to pit, and was later dropped behind Mark Winterbottom.
McLaughlin held his second position off the line, sandwiched between Lowndes and Whincup.
Foreshadowing the closing tustle, it took only until the hairpin on the second lap for Whincup to make his move up the inside.
But McLaughlin refused to be intimidated and swiped the nose of his Volvo past Whincup's rear bumper searching for a quicker exit.
The pair went shoulder to shoulder - the sport's undisputed alpha lion and the kid tipped to one day usurp him - but Whincup stuck the move at the next turn.