Kubica fastest in damp final Japan practice

Robert Kubica grabbed the fastest time for BMW Sauber in a damp but drying final free practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji

Kubica fastest in damp final Japan practice

Toyota's Timo Glock continued his strong Friday form to take second, ahead of Kubica's teammate Nick Heidfeld, while the title contenders were edged down the timing screens as others improved late in the session - leaving Felipe Massa (Ferrari) seventh and Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 11th.

The rain had largely ceased by the time the session started and the track dried steadily throughout, although times remained seven seconds down on Friday's levels.

Glock, Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso), and Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) took turns to lead the way early on as drivers played it safe on full wet tyres initially, before Hamilton tried intermediate tyres with 18 minutes gone and duly moved to the head of the standings, albeit only by 0.3 seconds.

Hamilton then briefly lost the top spot to Glock again, before Massa moved to the front with a 1:25.709 lap 23 minutes from the end of the session.

With conditions not improving enough to make dry tyres worthwhile, the Brazilian would remain at the head of the order until the final two minutes, when first Kubica, then Renault's Nelson Piquet edged ahead.

Heidfeld also threw away in a late flying lap to beat both his teammate and the Renault, but Kubica wasn't finished yet - setting a 1:25.087 with his final lap of the session to end the hour on top.

Glock then improved to second moments later, just 0.084 seconds slower than Kubica, with Piquet reclaiming third and edging Heidfeld down to fourth.

Local favourite Kazuki Nakajima (Williams) leapt to fifth in the closing seconds, with David Coulthard (Red Bull) also improving near the end to complete the top six.

Massa was pushed back to seventh, followed by Mark Webber's Red Bull, Fernando Alonso's Renault and Vettel.

Unsurprisingly the session saw countless trips across run-off areas - including a simultaneous excursion at Turn 1 by both Williams drivers - but Jarno Trulli's rotation at the Turn 6 hairpin and Kimi Raikkonen's quick spin out of the final corner were the only spins.

Force India had a troubled session, with brake problems and a hydraulic leak respectively confining Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil to the garage for much of the hour. They finally emerged with 10 minutes to go but remained at the back of the field.

Many teams also expect rain to feature in this afternoon's qualifying session, but predictions for tomorrow suggest that this year's Fuji race will be dry.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) 1:25.087 19 2. Glock Toyota (B) 1:25.171 + 0.084 25 3. Piquet Renault (B) 1:25.415 + 0.328 19 4. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) 1:25.474 + 0.387 24 5. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:25.563 + 0.476 23 6. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:25.614 + 0.527 20 7. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:25.709 + 0.622 15 8. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:25.785 + 0.698 20 9. Alonso Renault (B) 1:25.799 + 0.712 19 10. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:25.880 + 0.793 24 11. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:25.901 + 0.814 8 12. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:25.984 + 0.897 22 13. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:26.013 + 0.926 21 14. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:26.213 + 1.126 19 15. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:26.239 + 1.152 10 16. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:26.277 + 1.190 18 17. Barrichello Honda (B) 1:26.662 + 1.575 22 18. Button Honda (B) 1:26.922 + 1.835 26 19. Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:27.357 + 2.270 12 20. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:27.918 + 2.831 17 All timing unofficial 
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