Maxi Buhk leads a Mercedes-AMG 1-2 in the opening hour of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
Buhk, in the No. 999 GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 holds a one-second advantage over the No. 77 Craft Bamboo Black Falcon entry driven by Luca Stolz, having led the field to the 5:45 a.m. local start in full darkness.
Steven Kane runs third in the No. 107 Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3.
The No. 62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 of Marvin Kirchhoefer, who was forced to start 12th after being excluded from the Pirelli Top 10 Shootout due to a technical infraction, has moved up to 9th.
Trouble has struck the No. 34 Walkenhorst BMW M6 GT3, with Nicky Catsburg stopping on track with a broken oil pump.
The car has since been returned to the pits where it remains in the garage.
Another pre-race favorite, the No. 888 Team Vodafone Mercedes, meanwhile, has made an early pit stop and runs 30th overall.