ROOKIE STARS ON FIRST DAY

Poleman Tweedie was beaten away from the start by Auckland gun Clark 'Metalman' Proctor, with New Zealand legend Ken Smith in close attendance.

For lap after lap, Tweedie's red Chevron B24 poked and prodded either side of Proctor's familiar yellow March, only for the door to be firmly shut.

It looked as though Proctor had all the answers until, with just over a lap to go, Tweedie squeezed through, to take a stunning F5000 series debut win. Though in his attempts to keep the youngster at bay, Proctor set the race's fastest lap - at 1m27.8312s with Smith (Lola T332) keeping a watching brief throughout for a strong third, ahead of Aucklander Andrew Higgins (Lola T400), and Matich A50-mounted Australian drivers Bryan Sala and Aaron Lewis.

The series debut of Richard Davison - father of V8 Supercar stars Will and Alex - got off to a tough start with what appeared to be an electronic failure early in the race, in the former Teddy Yip/Alan Jones Lola.

Tweedie, who has come via Australian F3 and Porsche Carrera Cup, before the weekend's debut in F5000, was thrilled: "I certainly didn't expect to win like that, first up," he grinned. "Racing a car like that against some of the regular pace-setters in F5000 is a huge buzz itself. Clark got a great start and it was pretty late in the race before the opportunity came to get past. It was tremendous, hard, but clean racing. Fantastic."

The 2013/14 Formula 5000 Australia Cup is supported by Gibson Freight and Mediterranean Shipping Company.

Ends