Maurice Fabietti returned to form in qualifying for the 42nd annual Westernationals at Perth Motorplex, using a 5.92 second time to take pole position in Top Doorslammer.
After troubles with his launch RPM control in qualifying session one, Fabietti stepped it up in session two and his time held for the remainder of the night.
Humid air restricted the performances of the Top Doorslammer field, but positions were still tight with points leader Peter Kapiris holding on to the number eight "bump spot" with a 6.05 and due to face Fabietti in round one on Sunday.
Fabietti said that the input of new crew member Stuart Rowland, former crew chief on Robin Judd's team, was valuable in figuring out the Perth Motorplex surface.
"It's the first time we have top qualified for probably three years so it is great to have the Holden Trade Club Monaro out there doing well," Fabietti said. "We didn't think the time would hold and we got down there when a lot of people couldn't.
"Stu (Rowland)'s home town knowledge is unbelievable and he has given me more confidence in the car again yet. There is more to go in my driving yet as well.
"There's no reason why in the first round tomorrow the thing shouldn't run a high 5.8 second time, we just need to tickle a few more things here and there."
The New South Welshman held off dangerous Western Australian John Zappia who qualified second with a 5.96 and Victor Bray, the winner of the last championship round, who recorded a 6.00.
In Pro Stock, Wayne Daley used a last session 7.050 to duck ahead of a 7.056 from Jason Grima, with the two Australian Nationals finalists renewing their rivalry.
Daley's Diamond T car held the top time after the first session, until Grima's second session pass looked to have pole wrapped up.
Daley dug deep however and with a new engine delivering extra horsepower was able to sneak by Grima by just .006 of a second. The new engine has been developed with assistance from multi-time Australian Pro Stock champion Peter Ridgeway.
"We got some input from Peter on the set up of the car as well and that has been really good," Daley explained. "The combination of Peter's input, the new engine, my crew chief Mike Marriott and me being a good driver today has culminated in being top qualifier.
"Mike's local knowledge of the track was a huge bonus to the team and something the other teams don't have."
Daley says he will approach a round one confrontation with Kirsten Cannuli like any other race.
"We go into every round like it is the same opponent, it doesn't matter who it is. When we race, we race," he said.
Eliminations begin on Sunday with the first round of Pro Stock at 4:30pm WST and the first round of Top Doorslammer at 6pm WST.
Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship action also got underway on opening day of the 42nd annual Westernationals, with Alistair McClure currently holding in top spot in Competition with a sub-record 6.45 pass from his BB/AA-classed car.
Super Stock rookie Sam Gullotto has impressed with a 6.92 in the A/AP class to be on top, while Greg Durack has gone a massive 0.301 underneath his national record with a 7.13 pass to top qualify in Competition Bike.