Local hero Bruno Magalhaes topped the timesheets at the end of the pre-event shakedown for round seven of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, the Rali Vinho da Madeira
Basking in 32 degree sunshine, the Portuguese island plays host to a field of 69 entries in an event that starts this afternoon with a superspecial on the streets of host city Funchal.
Portuguese national champion Magalhaes completed the 3.3km run in a time of 1m51.0s in his Peugeot 207 S2000, edging out current championship leader Kris Meeke in his Peugeot UK entry by 0.2s.
Two-time Madeira winner Giandomenico Basso claimed the third fastest time in his Abarth Grande Punto, followed by 2008 winner Nicolas Vouilloz's Peugeot, Vitor Pascoal in another 207 and the returning Luca Rossetti in the second works Abarth.
Rossetti has been drafted into the Italian squad to replace young gun Anton Alen, who is competing alongside Kimi Raikkonen on this weekend's World Rally Championship Rally Finland, where another IRC frontrunner, Juho Hanninen, will take part in a privately-entered Skoda Fabia S2000.
The 2.18km superspecial is expected to draw more than 30,000 spectators when the action begins at 5pm local time tonight.
The fifth Intercontinental Rally Challenge was the best yet, and it was Skoda UK driver Andreas Mikkelsen who emerged as champion from a tense five-way shootout at the season finale. Matt Beer reviews the season