History repeated as Holden's Shane van Gisbergen again ignored the threat of legal action to top the timesheets at the V8 Supercars' season-opening round in Adelaide on Friday.
And Volvo fired an ominous opening salvo, with Kiwi young gun Scott McLaughlin celebrating the Swedish manufacturer's first touring car sighting in 28 years by clocking the fourth fastest time in opening practice.
Twelve months ago, van Gisbergen's 2013 season looked over before it could begin.
In late 2012 the flying Kiwi sensationally retired at 23 after his former Ford team became Mercedes' Erebus Motorsport.
Barely a month later van Gisbergen backtracked and signed with Holden's Tekno Autosports earning the ire of the cashed up Erebus team.
Threatened with legal action that looked set to prevent him from racing, van Gisbergen still carved up the notorious Adelaide street circuit to be the overall winner of the 2013 opening round.
Fast forward a year and van Gisbergen admits nothing has changed off track in what he dubs a game of "legal tennis" between himself and his former Erebus team.
Unconscionable Conduct proceedings were formally instigated in the Federal Court by Erebus in mid-2013.
The court is reportedly continuing to gather evidence from concerned parties.
If it is a distraction, the likeable Kiwi hasn't let on in Adelaide where he again topped the timesheets in one minute, 21.69 seconds ahead of fellow Holden drivers Jason Bright (1:21.69) and James Courtney (1:21.77).
"It's good to be top, but it doesn't really mean much," van Gisbergen said of his practice effort ahead of Friday afternoon's qualifying.
"The car isn't perfect yet. There's a lot that we want to do to make it better."
Asked about the ongoing legal threat, van Gisbergen told speedcafe website: "It is similar to last year - it is in the background.
"It's not at the front of my mind.
"It's not going to stop me racing and that's the main thing."
McLaughlin (1:21.85) impressed everyone - including himself - when Volvo officially returned.
"Far out, to be P4 in the first session, that's awesome," the 20-year-old said.
Two more practice sessions will be held before qualifying starts at 1530 AEDT.