First practice: Kanaan fast in Japan

Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves traded the fastest lap five times in the last 35 minutes of the Thursday morning Champ Car practice session at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. Kanaan finally took the honours with a 26.142 second/213.174mph effort with just two minutes remaining in the two-hour session

First practice: Kanaan fast in Japan

Castroneves was close behind, his best lap timed at 26.264 seconds for a 212.184mph average. Third fastest was Kanaan's Mo Nunn Racing team mate Alex Zanardi, who had the best individual session he has had since he returned to the CART series at the beginning of the year. Zanardi's best lap was clocked at 211.475mph.

Christian Fittipaldi, Kenny Brack and Michael Andretti were fourth through sixth in a session that was held under cloudless skies with temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius. The weather is expected to remain near perfect for the balance of the meeting, something that has never happened in CART's three previous visits to the spectacular 1.549-mile Motegi oval nestled in the mountains of northeast Japan.

The only drivers to encounter trouble in the first session were Oriol Servia, whose Ford-Cosworth engine developed an oil leak, and Cristiano da Matta. The championship leader suffered gearbox problems in one of his Newman/Haas Lola-Toyota's, but he still posted the seventh best lap at 208.472mph.

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Second practice: Castroneves on top

Second practice: Castroneves on top
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