David Russell made a fast start to life as a Tickford endurance driver, topping a soaking wet dedicated co-driver practice session at Winton.
The entire 30-minute session was weather-affected, times hanging way back in the 1m43s for much of the first 10 minutes.
Just after that 10-minute mark Nissan driver Dean Fiore pushed the times into the low 1m41s, before new Tickford signing James Moffat broke into the 1m40s a couple of minutes later.
By the mid-way point times were down to the low 1m39s, Moffat and Alex Rullo leading the way. Bryce Fullwood was then first into the 1m38s with a 1m38.942s in the Matt Stone Racing Ford.
Fullwood’s time held up until the final couple of minutes, when there was a gaggle of improvements in the mid-to-low-1m38s bracket.
The best of the late improvers was David Russell, who put Cam Waters’ Tickford Ford on top with a 1m38.043s.
“The car was really good in those conditions, ” said Russell. “The last thing you want to do is go firing off, so I think for all of us there was a bit of margin under brakes, there is always is in wet weather conditions.
“Full credit to the team, the car has been fantastic. It was easy for me to tune some of those things and have a chat to the engineers. It’s in a pretty good window.”
Steve Owen made it a Tickford one-two with a late improvement of his own, albeit more than half a second slower than Russell, with BJR driver Macauley Jones another hundredth back in third.
Dean Canto made it three Tickford cars in the top four, with Garry Jacobson fifth in the Nissan, and Moffat sixth in the remaining Tickford car after being shuffled back by the late improvements.
Dean Fiore was seventh, Fullwood eighth after not improving in the last couple of minutes, and Aaron Russell ninth.
Le Mans star Earl Bamber rounded out the Top 10 in Shane van Gisbergen’s Red Bull Holden.
Then conditions meant not all of the co-drivers ventured out on track, with the two other Triple Eight drivers Paul Dumbrell and Steve Richards both opting to keep dry.
DJR Team Penske decided not to put Tony D’Alberto in Scott McLaughlin’s car, while both Erebus entries stayed in the garage as well.