Kris Meeke made the perfect start to his long-term Citroen World Rally Championship career with fastest time on Wednesday's Monte Carlo Rally shakedown stage.
Given Citroen's lack of development of the DS 3 WRC for this season, Meeke is not expecting to battle for rally wins in his part programme with PH Sport - but at the first season's first competitive opportunity, the Northern Irishman was fastest.
Last year's Rally Argentina winner was quick to play down his shakedown scratch time, pointing out the rapid deterioration in the stage surface.
Significant snow fell in Gap on Monday night, but rising temperatures have melted much of that away.
The two-mile shakedown test was free from snow and ice when Meeke beat defending world champion Sebastien Ogier to the top spot.
"We got into the stage quite early and the stage was destroyed quite quickly," said Meeke.
"The road got really dirty and it's probably not so similar to the rally, so shakedown really means nothing."
Meeke finished on the podium in Monte Carlo two years ago and he says his experience of the last two seasons will help him this week.
"It is a huge challenge, it's the Monte Carlo Rally," he said.
"It never ceases to surprise. Over the last two years, we have faced everything: a very wet 2014 with a lot of 'black top' [ice] on asphalt, then in 2015 we had some snow which meant we had to cross the tyres, but we learned a lot.
"This time will be no more simple, but I'm bit more relaxed having been through the conditions."
Ogier was two tenths of a second down on Meeke, with the top two more than three seconds ahead of their nearest challenger: Dani Sordo in Hyundai's all-new i20 WRC.
Sordo headed Hyundai team-mate Thierry Neuville, with Ogier's Volkswagen team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Jari-Matti Latvala fifth and sixth.
Robert Kubica was seventh and top Ford Fiesta RS WRC, two seconds up on Mads Ostberg on the Norwegian's return to M-Sport.
Ostberg's team-mate Eric Camilli was beaten by the man he replaces in the Cumbrian squad - Elfyn Evans.
The Welshman made good use of M-Sport's latest specification WRC2 class Fiesta R5 against Camilli's Fiesta RS WRC.
Follow the Monte Carlo Rally as it happens with Autosport Race Centre Live from 7pm UK time on Thursday night