Yvan Muller was the pacesetter in both free practice sessions at Moscow Raceway on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying for round six of the World Touring Car Championship.
Tackling low-grip track conditions in FP1, the reigning WTCC champion set a fastest time of 1m39.898s, before improving to a 1m39.505s in the second session.
Honda's Gabriele Tarquini was Muller's closest competitor in both sessions, and the Italian believes his Civic WTCC will be a more competitive at the Russian venue than it was at the high-speed Salzburgring a fortnight ago.
Tarquini was the only other driver to break into the 1m29s in the opening session, and found a 0.043 second gain in FP2 to edge out Campos Chevrolet racer Hugo Valente by 0.024s.
Valente was one of four customer Chevrolet runners to enjoy a spell at the top of the timing screens in FP2.
Hungaroring reversed-grid winner Gianni Morbidelli posted an initial quickest time before being demoted by Muller.
After failing to record a lap in the first third of the session, ROAL Motorsport's Tom Coronel went top on his first flier.
Team-mate Tom Chilton edged out the series veteran by 0.005s at the half-way point, thanks to a lap of 1m40.098s.
The Briton's effort was usurped by Valente, who displayed no lasting effects from his heavy Salzburgring practice accident that forced him to start from the last row of the grid in Austria.
Valente was bumped to eventual third place, ahead of fellow Cruze runners Chilton, Coronel and Rene Munnich.
Championship leader Jose Maria Lopez was seventh, ahead of Citroen team-mate Sebastien Loeb.
In FP1, Coronel had claimed third by 0.038s from the second JAS factory Honda of Tiago Monteiro.
On his maiden WTCC appearance for Citroen, Chinese racer Ma Qing Hua ended the first session in ninth.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Yvan Muller Citroen 1m39.898s 14
2. Gabriele Tarquini Honda 1m39.962s +0.064s 14
3. Tom Coronel ROAL Chevrolet 1m40.130s +0.232s 15
4. Tiago Monteiro Honda 1m40.168s +0.270s 13
5. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 1m40.306s +0.408s 14
6. Mehdi Bennani Proteam Honda 1m40.384s +0.486s 13
7. Tom Chilton ROAL Chevrolet 1m40.480s +0.582s 13
8. Jose Maria Lopez Citroen 1m40.496s +0.598s 13
9. Ma Qing Hua Citroen 1m40.796s +0.898s 13
10. Gianni Morbidelli Munnich Chevrolet 1m40.900s +1.002s 13
11. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda 1m40.985s +1.087s 15
12. James Thompson Lada 1m41.115s +1.217s 11
13. Hugo Valente Campos Chevrolet 1m41.272s +1.374s 13
14. Dusan Borkovic Campos Chevrolet 1m41.445s +1.547s 15
15. Rene Munnich Munnich Chevrolet 1m41.645s +1.747s 13
16. Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada 1m41.803s +1.905s 10
17. Robert Huff Lada 1m41.959s +2.061s 6
18. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m43.732s +3.834s 12
19. Pasquale Di Sabatino Engstler BMW 1m45.115s +5.217s 14
20. John Filippi Campos SEAT 1m46.752s +6.854s 12
21. Nikita Misiulia Campos SEAT 2m02.233s +22.335s 4
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Yvan Muller Citroen 1m39.505s 13
2. Gabriele Tarquini Honda 1m39.919s +0.414s 14
3. Hugo Valente Campos Chevrolet 1m39.943s +0.438s 9
4. Tom Chilton ROAL Chevrolet 1m40.098s +0.593s 13
5. Tom Coronel ROAL Chevrolet 1m40.103s +0.598s 13
6. Rene Munnich Munnich Chevrolet 1m40.214s +0.709s 14
7. Jose Maria Lopez Citroen 1m40.268s +0.763s 12
8. Tiago Monteiro Honda 1m40.440s +0.935s 13
9. Mehdi Bennani Proteam Honda 1m40.462s +0.957s 11
10. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 1m40.470s +0.965s 13
11. Gianni Morbidelli Munnich Chevrolet 1m40.701s +1.196s 14
12. Ma Qing Hua Citroen 1m40.709s +1.204s 14
13. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda 1m40.870s +1.365s 14
14. James Thompson Lada 1m40.934s +1.429s 11
15. Robert Huff Lada 1m41.452s +1.947s 7
16. Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada 1m42.153s +2.648s 13
17. Dusan Borkovic Campos Chevrolet 1m42.882s +3.377s 7
18. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m43.778s +4.273s 12
19. Pasquale Di Sabatino Engstler BMW 1m44.444s +4.939s 11
20. John Filippi Campos SEAT 1m45.446s +5.941s 14
21. Nikita Misiulia Campos SEAT 1m48.096s +8.591s 3