Petter Solberg driving a Citroen Xara has set the fastest time in the first stage of the Rally of Poland.
The Norwegian 2003 world champion and specialist in super-special stages was ahead of France's Sebastien Loeb's Citroen C4 in the 2.5 km opening mini stage.
The evening spectacle was designed for maximum spectator appeal at this event which has only appeared on the World Rally Championship programme once before - in 1973.
Finland's Mikko Hirvonen in the Ford Focus was in joint third place with Andreas Mikkelsen (Skoda Fabia).
The battle starts in earnest tonight with six special stages in the Mazurian lakes region of north-east Poland.
After widespread rain in the area, conditions on the sandy tracks have become more favourable for five-times world champion Loeb who is aiming to widen his lead at the top of the rally drivers championship table.
Loeb saw his advantage in the rankings shrink to only seven points behind Hirvonen when they crashed their Citroen and abandoned the race in the Acropolis Rally earlier this month.