Thed Bjork handed Volvo the ideal start to its World Touring Car Championship return by topping the timesheets in first practice at Shanghai.
Bjork, who recently claimed this year's Scandinavian Touring Car crown, hit the front early on and was never displaced as the field largely focused on long runs over the 30-minute session.
His 1m55.323s effort left him more than six tenths clear of a chasing pack led by Honda's Gabriele Tarquini and Nika's Rickard Rydell, who like Bjork is making a one-off appearance in China.
Yvan Muller meanwhile edged out Suzuka race winner Norbert Michelisz in the fight for fourth, with Tom Coronel finishing as the top BMW, less than two hundredths of a second down the road.
The top six was effectively locked in after the opening five minutes, but there was at least movement down the order as Freddy Barth put his Wiechers BMW seventh minutes from the end.
That demoted the second factory Honda of Tiago Monteiro to eighth, and also bumped Lada's James Thompson and the RML Chevrolet of Tom Chilton to the fringes of the top 10.
Chilton was one of several drivers to have small moments when he ran slightly deep into Turn 15, moments before Michelisz saved a massive lock-up at the same corner.
Eurosport Asia Trophy competitor Ka Lok Mak was the session's only spinner, losing the rear of his Chevrolet exiting Turn 9.
Pepe Oriola meanwhile was a notable absentee on the timesheets, with the Spaniard completing just one exploratory lap due to power steering problems.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Thed Bjork Polestar Volvo 1m55.323s 2. Gabriele Tarquini Honda 1m55.934s +0.611s 3. Rickard Rydell Nika Chevrolet 1m55.977s +0.654s 4. Yvan Muller RML Chevrolet 1m56.075s +0.752s 5. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda 1m56.132s +0.809s 6. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 1m56.150s +0.827s 7. Freddy Barth Wiechers BMW 1m56.178s +0.855s 8. Tiago Monteiro Honda 1m56.231s +0.908s 9. James Thompson Lada 1m56.544s +1.221s 10. Tom Chilton RML Chevrolet 1m56.574s +1.251s 11. Rob Huff Munnich SEAT 1m56.636s +1.313s 12. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet 1m56.763s +1.440s 13. Hugo Valente Campos SEAT 1m56.821s +1.498s 14. Marc Basseng Munnich SEAT 1m56.949s +1.626s 15. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m57.138s +1.815s 16. Stefano D'Aste PB BMW 1m57.161s +1.838s 17. James Nash Bamboo Chevrolet 1m57.193s +1.870s 18. Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada 1m57.231s +1.908s 19. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 1m57.396s +2.073s 20. Darryl O'Young ROAL BMW 1m57.669s +2.346s 21. Rene Munnich Munnich SEAT 1m57.686s +2.363s 22. Fernando Monje Campos SEAT 1m57.841s +2.518s 23. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 1m58.031s +2.708s 24. Yukinori Taniguchi Wiechers BMW 1m58.092s +2.769s 25. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 1m59.571s +4.248s 26. Filipe de Souza China Dragon Chevrolet 1m59.583s +4.260s 27. Henry Ho Engstler BMW 2m00.988s +5.665s 28. Kin Veng Ng China Dragon Chevrolet 2m01.305s +5.982s 29. Jeronimo Badaraco Son Veng Chevrolet 2m01.532s +6.209s 30. Ka Lok Mak RPM BMW 2m03.291s +7.968s 31. Pepe Oriola Tuenti Chevrolet -