Peugeot's Nicolas Vouilloz topped the 4.5km shakedown for this weekend's Sata Rally Azores, round four of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
The Frenchman was just 0.3sec faster than Kronos Peugeot teammate Kris Meeke. Local hero Bruno Magalhaes was third fastest, ahead of Freddy Loix - the top four all in Peugeot 207s.
The rally starts tonight with a 1.7km superspecial, Grupo Marques, before two days of competition around the Portuguese island's gravel roads.
Loix said: "I've never seen a rally with so much variation from one stage to the next. It's a bit slippery on the stones, a very tricky rally."
Meeke, who won last time out in Brazil, said: "Although we were very strong in Brazil, this is completely different. The big challenge is going from very fast sections to the very slow stuff.
"Some of the stages are lined with walls, so it's like going down a corridor between them. I think it'll be like the Monte: the person who makes the least mistakes has the best chance to win."