Rick Kelly overcame torrential rain to claim his first race win since 2008 in the V8 Supercars Championship opener at the ITM400 Hamilton in New Zealand.

But the Jack Daniel Racing Team driver very nearly didn't finish the race when a mad scramble to reach pit lane as the rain hit, almost saw him lose control on entry.

“I'm stoked,” said Kelly. “The whole team deserves this. And we got the old girl up front. It won in the wet at Symmons Plains with Todd driving in 2008.

“It's a great way to win our first race for Kelly Racing with trying conditions and different pit strategies and wet and dry conditions.”

Another poor start by championship leader, Jamie Whincup allowed Kelly to get the jump on the pole-sitter. And it was all downhill after that for the two-time champion who had won the previous four races here. Exiting the pits on cold slick tyres the Team Vodafone driver hit the wall, losing three laps for repairs to a damaged steering arm. He eventually finished 23rd.

The heavy rain began to fall on lap 22, and the slippery conditions on the concrete in pit lane saw several drivers overshooting their pit. Mark Winterbottom took control of the race, but with the Ford Performance Racing driver having to pit for fuel late in the race, Kelly took back the lead.

With a late safety car deployed, Kelly's 11-second lead was cut. And with just five laps to go at the restart, a charging Craig Lowndes in the Team Vodafone car passed Rick’s brother, Todd, for second. Todd Kelly finished third, meaning both the Jack Daniel Racing cars finished on the podium.

This was Rick Kelly's 10th race victory and his first for Jack Daniel Racing and the Kelly Racing team which he owns with his brother.

Reigning series champion James Courtney, who had started from 22nd after crashing in qualifying, finished a commendable fifth behind Winterbottom, but a post-race time penalty of 10 seconds for starting in the incorrect grid position dropped him to 11th.

Rounding out the top 10 was front-row starter Steve Johnson of Jim Beam Racing in sixth, Trading Post FPR's Will Davison, Bundaberg Racing's Fabian Coulthard, Pepsi Max Crew's Greg Murphy and rookie James Moffat in the second Jim Beam Ford.

Cars weren’t the only casualties on the day with a cameraman and Garth Tander’s chief mechanic both being hit by vehicles in pit lane. Fortunately, neither was seriously injured.

Race 5 results:

Pos Entrant Driver Vehicle Fastest Lap Fastest Lap Time Race Time Laps Points
1 Jack Daniel’s Racing Rick Kelly Commodore VE2 8 01:24:0836 01:38:27:0660 59 150
2 TeamVodafone Craig Lowndes Commodore VE2 8 01:23:8156 01:38:28:3793 59 138
3 Jack Daniel’s Racing Todd Kelly Commodore VE2 10 01:24:2384 01:38:34:9911 59 129
4 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon Mark Winterbottom Falcon FG 11 01:23:8590 01:38:35:5377 59 120
5 Jim Beam Racing Steven Johnson Falcon FG 8 01:24:1590 01:38:42:5037 59 111
6 Trading Post FPR Falcon Will Davison Falcon FG 12 01:24:3320 01:38:44:2947 59 102
7 Bundaberg Racing Fabian Coulthard Commodore VE2 10 01:24:8208 01:38:45:5244 59 96
8 Pepsi Max Crew Greg Murphy Commodore VE2 12 01:24:5788 01:38:46:2665 59 90
9 Jim Beam Racing James Moffat Falcon FG 12 01:24:8601 01:38:48:0028 59 84
10 Irwin Racing Alex Davison Falcon FG 10 01:24:6791 01:38:50:6340 59 78
11 Toll Holden Racing Team James Courtney Commodore VE2 12 01:24:4759 01:38:51:0770 59 72
12 Wilson Security Racing Tony D’Alberto Falcon FG 12 01:24:7663 01:38:59:1030 59 69
13 Jana Living Racing Jason Bargwanna Commodore VE2 11 01:24:8060 01:39:53:5429 59 66
14 Supercheap Auto Racing Russell Ingall Commodore VE2 7 01:25:1038 01:38:38:9748 58 63
15 Fujitsu Racing GRM Michael Caruso Commodore VE2 10 01:23:8002 01:38:42:0123 58 60
16 SP Tools Racing Shane van Gisbergen Falcon FG 12 01:24:1117 01:38:47:2927 58 57
17 Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing Karl Reindler Commodore VE2 9 01:25:1196 01:38:48:1784 58 54
18 Toll Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Commodore VE2 12 01:23:9442 01:38:49:8200 58 51
19 Team BOC Jason Bright Commodore VE2 9 01:24:0088 01:38:51:0034 58 48
20 VIP Petfoods Steve Owen Commodore VE2 10 01:25:0154 01:38:53:4746 58 45
21 Triple F Racing Dean Fiore Falcon FG 12 01:24:8431 01:38:49:0037 57 42
22 Fujitsu Racing GRM Lee Holdsworth Commodore VE2 9 01:24:0525 01:39:09:6277 57 39
23 TeamVodafone Jamie Whincup Commodore VE2 8 01:23:8225 01:38:55:2733 56 36
24 Stratco Racing David Reynolds Commodore VE2 8 01:24:8212 01:39:03:2430 52 33
DNF Lucky 7 Racing Tim Slade Falcon FG 12 01:24:1292 41:21:8233 26 0
DNF Mother Energy Racing Team Jonathon Webb Falcon FG 11 01:24:6099 33:41:8310 22 0
DNF Gulf Western Oil Racing Warren Luff Commodore VE2 6 01:26:2012 22:21:0225 14 0