Volvo new recruit James Moffat has topped the times in opening practice at the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint.
Moffat sprung up in the order with less than a minute remaining in the hour-long session, toppling Jamie Whincup by 0.050 seconds with his 51.8869sec lap around the tight Symmons Plains circuit.
Moffat has joined the Volvo squad this year and had tough runs at the Clipsal 500 and grand prix, but believes he rolled out with a car that better suited his style today.
The top 21 cars were separated by less than half a second at the incredibly tight track, with 1.2 seconds back to the 26th car, Andre Heimgartner.
The Triple Eight cars led the way for much of the session with Craig Lowndes, Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen battling at the front, with champion Mark Winterbottom also buying into that battle.
With hard Dunlop tyres available in the team’s tyre banks as well as soft tyres (which the racing is run on this weekend) some were on different compounds throughout the session.
It was a late start for David Reynolds, whose Erebus team found an issue with the transaxle before the session and had to make a quick change holding up Reynolds’ start.
It has been an encouraging start for others who shifted into new cars for 2016, with Tim Slade fourth in the Freightliner Racing car, Will Davison fifth in the TEKNO Commodore and Lee Holdsworth ninth, after sitting at the top of the times for a short time in the Preston Hire Commodore.
Cameron Waters was home 10th and works with the team’s technical guru Nathaniel Osborne this weekend, with his regular engineer Brendan Hogan home recovering from an injury.
In the third Triple Eight car, Shane van Gisbergen finished 11th, with others to note Chaz Mostert in 13th, Scott McLaughlin 15th and Fabian Coulthard 18th.
The V8 Supercars have another practice session this afternoon at 1.45pm local time.