Defending series champion Simon Evans has qualified fastest for the opening race of the NZ Touring Car championship at Pukekohe Park Raceway on Saturday.

Evans, in the Smeg Holden, was nearly half a second quicker than Nick Ross' Nissan Altima with the Holden of Tom Alexander third.

Brad Lathrope was the quickest of the older class two cars.

Lathrope posted a time of 1:17.51s which was just over a second faster than the Ford of Nick Farrier.

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Liam MacDonald's Ford was third.

The NZ Touring Cars will contest a 12-lap race tomorrow afternoon before two slightly longer races Sunday, including one reverse grid start.