Suzuka WTCC: Alain Menu tops practice as new Honda finds pace
|Saturday, October 20th 2012, 01:31 GMT|
Alain Menu led another all-Chevrolet top three in Saturday morning practice for the World Touring Car Championship's Suzuka round.
But while the dominant squad again led the way, Tiago Monteiro hinted at the potential of the new Honda and took fourth place.
The JAS-run car was just 0.333 seconds off Menu's 53.855s pace, as the top 17 drivers all lapped within 0.996s in the close session.
Joint points leaders Yvan Muller and Rob Huff were second and third. Muller lost the top spot to Menu by a mere 0.064s.
Monteiro's 2013 Honda team-mate Gabriele Tarquini claimed fifth in the leading SEAT. Pepe Oriola managed to equal Tarquini's time in the closing moments.
Local series returnee Hiroki Yoshimoto was next up, followed by Bamboo Chevrolet duo Darryl O'Young and Alex MacDowall. Aleksei Dudukalo completed the top 10.
The BMWs were all off the pace, with Zengo's Norbert Michelisz the best of the 320 TC pack in 11th.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Alain Menu Chevrolet 53.855s 2. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 53.919s + 0.064s 3. Rob Huff Chevrolet 54.142s + 0.287s 4. Tiago Monteiro Honda 54.188s + 0.333s 5. Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT 54.243s + 0.388s 6. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT 54.243s + 0.388s 7. Hiroki Yoshimoto Tuenti SEAT 54.362s + 0.507s 8. Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet 54.364s + 0.509s 9. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet 54.444s + 0.589s 10. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT 54.626s + 0.771s 11. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 54.705s + 0.850s 12. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 54.711s + 0.856s 13. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 54.734s + 0.879s 14. Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW 54.740s + 0.885s 15. James Nash Arena Ford 54.833s + 0.978s 16. Stefano D'Aste Wiechers BMW 54.835s + 0.980s 17. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 54.851s + 0.996s 18. Fernando Monje Tuenti SEAT 55.076s + 1.221s 19. Tom Chilton Arena Ford 55.118s + 1.263s 20. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 55.198s + 1.343s 21. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 55.306s + 1.451s 22. Rene Munnich Special Tuning SEAT 55.349s + 1.494s 23. Masaki Kano Engstler BMW 55.846s + 1.991s