Volvo Polestar Racing fired an ominous opening salvo in Practice 1 at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide with Scott McLaughlin setting the fourth fastest time.
Missing from the first half of the session due to a power steering issue, McLaughlin was immediately on the pace once he joined the circuit.
Sitting ninth after his first run, his best effort from a second and final outing proved just 0.17s adrift of pace-setter Shane van Gisbergen.
The Tekno Autosports driver had knocked Rick Kelly off the top spot after 15 of the 30 minutes, before eventually trimming his own benchmark as the chequered flag flew.
A late effort put Jason Bright second ahead of James Courtney, McLaughlin, Craig Lowndes, Kelly, Jamie Whincup, Todd Kelly, Fabian Coulthard and Tim Slade.
Van Gisbergen won the Sunday race at last year’s Clipsal 500 but isn’t getting carried away with thoughts of a repeat.
“It’s good to be top, but it doesn’t really mean much,” he said after the session.
“Our tyres were pretty good then and you don’t know what everyone else is got.
“The car isn’t perfect yet. There’s a lot that we want to do to make it better.”
McLaughlin meanwhile confirmed that he was on “pretty good” but “not green” tyres.
“We had to try to see what we had because we didn’t have a lot of time, so we put our good tyres on and away we went,” he said.
“But far out, to be P4 in the first session, that’s awesome.”
Team owner Garry Rogers added that his team has high expectations for its first weekend with the Volvo package.
“We don’t leave home thinking we can’t win,” he said.
“They (the GRM personnel) are the same blokes who built the Commodores we won with last year and full credit to Volvo, they have done a great job (on the engine).”
The session was relatively free from drama, with a late trip up the Turn 4 escape road for Mark Winterbottom one of few notable miscues.
Winterbottom ended the session as the fastest of the six Fords in just 14th.
It was also a quiet start to the season for Erebus Motorsport, whose drivers Lee Holdsworth and Will Davison were 16th and 21st respectively.
See below for the full session result
|1||Team Tekno VIP Petfoods||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||01:21.69|
|2||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||01:21.70||00:00.00|
|3||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||01:21.77||00:00.08|
|4||Valvoline Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||01:21.86||00:00.17|
|5||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||01:21.93||00:00.24|
|6||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||01:21.97||00:00.28|
|7||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||01:22.04||00:00.34|
|8||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||01:22.07||00:00.38|
|9||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||01:22.16||00:00.46|
|10||Supercheap Auto Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||01:22.17||00:00.47|
|11||Norton Hornets||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||01:22.20||00:00.51|
|12||Norton Hornets||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||01:22.21||00:00.52|
|13||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||01:22.24||00:00.54|
|14||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||01:22.29||00:00.59|
|15||Wilson Security Racing||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG||01:22.33||00:00.64|
|16||Erebus Motorsport V8||Lee Holdsworth||Mercedes E63 AMG||01:22.45||00:00.75|
|17||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG||01:22.45||00:00.76|
|18||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Ford Falcon FG||01:22.61||00:00.92|
|19||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||01:22.63||00:00.93|
|20||Team JELD-WEN||Jack Perkins||Ford Falcon FG||01:22.65||00:00.95|
|21||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Mercedes E63 AMG||01:22.82||00:01.12|
|22||Repair Management Aust Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VF||01:22.83||00:01.14|
|23||Walkinshaw Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||01:22.96||00:01.27|
|24||Valvoline Racing GRM||Robert Dahlgren||Volvo S60||01:22.98||00:01.29|
|25||Team Advam/GB||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||01:23.36||00:01.67|