Toll Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander finished Friday's practice for the Falken Tasmania Challenge at Symmons Plains Raceway, near Launceston third quickest overall.
Tander set a best time of 52.2381 seconds in the #1 Holden Commodore VE to trail rival Mark Winterbottom by just 0.1161s, the two split by Craig Lowndes, while series leader Jamie Whincup was sixth.
"My Toll HRT Commodore was very good straight out of the transporter," said Tander. "We've got a few things in the car that are different to what we had last year, so we spent time learning about those.
"Tonight we'll have a look at the data and work out what setup direction we'll head for tomorrow.
"Obviously the weather threw everyone a bit of a curve ball, but Mark [Skaife] went out in the wet and said our set-up was very good, so I think we've got most conditions covered."
Team-mate Mark Skaife, making his 213th championship start this weekend, meanwhile set the ninth quickest time of the day with a 52.5427s best lap, just 0.42s behind Winterbottom.
"Today was good," he added, "There were a few areas where we had improved our Toll HRT Commodore on last year, while there's also a couple where we are a little down.
"We had a run in the rain and the car was quite good, and it was responding to changes. We just need to make it a little easier to drive over the rise near the pits and into turns 1/2, but other than that it's not too bad!"