Motorsport: End of an era at Sydney 500 V8 event

The stage is set for the last head-to-head V8 Supercars battle between Ford and Holden at the Sydney 500.

The famed 20-year rivalry in the category will end on Sunday afternoon when they clash in the second 250km race of the weekend at Sydney Olympic Park.

Next year, Nissan and Mercedes will join the 17-event schedule while some regulation changes will also affect the design specifications of the cars.

Craig Lowndes's win in the first 74-lap race on Saturday notched Holden's 350th win compared to Ford's 217 victories.

It was a great day for Holden, who filled six of the top seven spots in draining heat on the tight 3.42km street circuit.

Temperatures reached as high as 37c which caused Frenchman Alex Premat to be dragged from his Holden late in the race with severe dehydration and he was taken to hospital.

But cooler conditions on Sunday were a big relief for drivers.

In morning qualifying, Garth Tander was fastest and he will start from pole position ahead of Ford's Will Davison and Holden teammate James Courtney.

But Jamie Whincup's failure to top the timesheets ensured Davison claimed a $20,000 bonus for winning the most number of pole positions - eight - during the year.

Holden star Whincup will be formally crowned as championship winner after Sunday's race having wrapped up the title two weeks ago at Winton in Victoria.

- AAP

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