Formula 3 returnee Felipe Nasr topped free practice on the first day of running for the Macau Grand Prix.
The GP2 racer, last year's British F3 champion, was quickest for most of the session as he immediately got into the groove in his Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen. Team-mate and fellow F3 comeback man Antonio Felix da Costa went faster with a minute to go, before Nasr stole back the top spot.
Swede Felix Rosenqvist, the form man in the closing races of this year's F3 Euro Series, also demoted da Costa in the dying seconds in his Mucke Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes.
"This is a unique place and it's always good to come back," said Nasr, runner-up in Macau last year. "It's a good start to the weekend. I'm grateful to Carlin for giving me the opportunity.
"The track was still pretty green, and there are some places with new Tarmac where it's very bumpy, but I'm sure that as the rubber goes down it will improve a lot.
"I was very pleased with what I saw when we tested at Silverstone with our Macau set-up, and it's good to confirm that here."
Carlos Sainz Jr took fourth place, with Will Buller fifth to make it four Carlin drivers in the top five.
Last year's winner Daniel Juncadella played himself in gently - being passed by Nasr and da Costa on the track - to take sixth place in the lead Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes.
Mucke's Pascal Wehrlein was the leading driver with no Macau experience to take seventh. That allowed him to edge out fellow Macau virgins Jack Harvey and Alex Lynn, with Daniel Abt just ahead of the two Brits.
As usual for Macau there were plenty of incidents. Japanese champion Ryo Hirakawa caused a red flag with 12 minutes remaining when he crashed heavily at R Bend, while his closest title rival from 2012, Yuichi Nakayama, shunted at Lisboa on his first flying lap.
The red flag provided a reprieve for Kevin Korjus, who had crashed his Double R Dallara-Mercedes lightly at Lisboa early in the session, damaging the front wing. His car was brought back to the pits on a truck during the stoppage and he was able to continue.
Mitchell Gilbert crashed at Moorish Hill halfway through the session, while Lucas Auer was unable to rejoin after Hirakawa's red flag as a gear cable was melted by his exhaust while he was sitting in the pits.
Alexander Sims also lost some running when a nail punctured one of the rear tyres on his T-Sport Dallara-Nissan.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Felipe Nasr Carlin Dallara-VW 2m14.787s 2. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 2m15.008s + 0.221s 3. Antonio Felix da Costa Carlin Dallara-VW 2m15.124s + 0.337s 4. Carlos Sainz Jr Carlin Dallara-VW 2m15.577s + 0.790s 5. Will Buller Carlin Dallara-VW 2m15.887s + 1.100s 6. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Mercedes 2m15.907s + 1.120s 7. Pascal Wehrlein Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 2m16.145s + 1.358s 8. Daniel Abt Carlin Dallara-VW 2m16.424s + 1.637s 9. Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW 2m16.517s + 1.730s 10. Alex Lynn Fortec Dallara-Mercedes 2m16.689s + 1.902s 11. Raffaele Marciello Prema Dallara-Mercedes 2m16.920s + 2.133s 12. Felix Serralles Fortec Dallara-Mercedes 2m17.018s + 2.231s 13. Jazeman Jaafar TOM'S Dallara-Toyota 2m17.210s + 2.423s 14. Hannes van Asseldonk Prema Dallara-Mercedes 2m17.357s + 2.570s 15. Jimmy Eriksson Double R Dallara-Mercedes 2m17.469s + 2.682s 16. Harry Tincknell Fortec Dallara-Mercedes 2m17.537s + 2.750s 17. Pipo Derani Fortec Dallara-Mercedes 2m17.746s + 2.959s 18. Hideki Yamauchi B-Max Dallara-Toyota 2m18.014s + 3.227s 19. Alexander Sims T-Sport Dallara-Nissan 2m18.285s + 3.498s 20. Tom Blomqvist Euro International Dallara-VW 2m18.376s + 3.589s 21. Kevin Korjus Double R Dallara-Mercedes 2m18.951s + 4.164s 22. Sven Muller Prema Dallara-Mercedes 2m19.620s + 4.833s 23. Lucas Wolf URD Dallara-Mercedes 2m19.747s + 4.960s 24. Mitchell Gilbert Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 2m19.983s + 5.196s 25. Ryo Hirakawa RSS Dallara-Toyota 2m20.235s + 5.448s 26. Andrea Roda Jo Zeller Dallara-Mercedes 2m20.521s + 5.734s 27. Lucas Auer Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 2m20.764s + 5.977s 28. Luis Sa Silva Angola Dallara-Mercedes 2m21.126s + 6.339s 29. Dennis van de Laar Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 2m21.200s + 6.413s 30. Yuichi Nakayama TOM'S Dallara-Toyota