Man of the moment Will Davison was the proudest man in Hamilton after three sessions of practice for the second scoring round of the V8 Supercar series, but it was not because the in-form Toll Holden Racing Team driver had set a lap record time on the slightly revised Hamilton circuit but because of who was up there alongside him.

Davison has been on fire since his V8 Supercar move to HRT this year, but admits that he would almost trade it all for his younger brother Alex, who has returned from a mini-exile from the sport to join the Irwin Tools Racing Team. His wish almost came true on day one in New Zealand, as the brothers Davison and adopted Hamilton local, Team BOC's Jason Richards, went fastest in opening practice at the event today.

For Will, it was his brother that was the focus of his attention, and he reckons Alex is a multiple race winner in the making now that he is back in the game after two years on an extremely successful stint in Europe and elsewhere.

"It's so good to have him back," Will admitted, "I'm one of his biggest supporters - we are close mates and good brothers. We've always supported each other from day dot no matter what we've done. In this business, it's too cut throat to have an emotional attachment to your views on someone, but I genuinely know just how good he is.

"I've been so desperate for him to get another shot here because I know what he can do. He has done so much more than most; he is so experienced and so rounded. And, he has some massively unfinished business. He has given away a pretty hefty career in Europe for this V8 thing, but I know that, last time, he didn't get the opportunity to show his real true colours and he is out to prove some people wrong."

The level-headed Alex played his day down, but was nonetheless happy to be third overall, enjoying his first real full practice session after blowing two engines at the last event in Adelaide.

"It's only a practice session, so I'll only get excited about it for five minutes and move on," he said, "It's definitely a step forward and we can keep edging ahead. I had a great time today."

Transformed Team BOC recruit Richards praised some key changes to the Hamilton track which resulted in the top 20 cars all being under last year's lap record, even though there was some discord over the use of tyre bundles to mark sections of the layout.

"It really transformed the track for me, it really came alive," Richards said of the modifications, "That chicane really choked it down. I love it. It's going to be so much better for the racing."

The top five was filled out by regular frontrunner Craig Lowndes and veteran Russell Ingall, while Greg Murphy - sixth fastest - and Shane Van Gisbergen - in seventh - ensured that there were three Kiwis in the top ten on home soil.

Marcus Marshall defied the problems besetting Team IntaRacing to snatch a promising eighth, ahead of another expected pacesetter Mark Winterbottom and Autobarn's Paul Dumbrell.

There was no sign of current champion Jamie Whincup at the sharp end, however, the TeamVodafone driver having again left himself with work to do as the weekend progresses after placing only 21st fastest. Davison's HRT team-mate Garth Tander was little better off in 16th.

Saturday includes the knockout qualifying session and Top Ten Shootout, as well as the first of the weekend's 200km races.