Alain Menu spearheaded a Chevrolet one-two-three in today's second World Touring Car Championship practice session at Suzuka
The Swiss driver managed a best of 54.265s, which was enough to leave him 0.365 seconds clear of Yvan Muller and 0.602s ahead of Rob Huff. The session was red flagged three minutes before its scheduled finishing time as the result of a spin by Proteam BMW racer Fabio Fabiani.
Although the session was officially declared wet when it started, the circuit dried out as the session progressed, resulting in lots of movement on the timesheets and rapidly plunging lap-times.
Muller set the early pace before losing his place at the top to the bamboo-engineering Chevrolet of Darryl O'Young. He in turn was replaced by Engstler Motorsport BMW driver Franz Engstler and Muller again, before Menu finally set a time that would stand until the end.
Behind the Chevrolets were SUNRED SEAT's Fredy Barth and Tiago Monteiro in fourth and fifth, while locals Toshi Arai (Chevrolet) and former GP2 racer Hiroki Yoshimoto (SUNRED) were sixth and seventh quickest.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Alain Menu Chevrolet 54.205s 2. Rob Huff Chevrolet 54.570s + 0.365s 3. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 54.807s + 0.602s 4. Fredy Barth SUNRED SEAT 54.879s + 0.674s 5. Tiago Monteiro SUNRED SEAT 54.924s + 0.719s 6. Toshi Arai Chevrolet 55.073s + 0.868s 7. Hiroki Yoshimoto SUNRED SEAT 55.226s + 1.021s 8. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 55.277s + 1.072s 9. Colin Turkington Wiechers BMW 55.293s + 1.088s 10. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 55.301s + 1.096s 11. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 55.303s + 1.098s 12. Javier Villa Proteam BMW 55.372s + 1.167s 13. Pepe Oriola SUNRED SEAT 55.391s + 1.186s 14. Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet 55.691s + 1.486s 15. Yukinori Taniguchi Bamboo Chevrolet 55.696s + 1.491s 16. Aleksei Dudukalo SUNRED SEAT 57.354s + 3.149s 17. Michel Nykjaer SUNRED SEAT 57.747s + 3.542s 18. Kristian Poulsen Engstler BMW 57.831s + 3.626s 19. Gabriele Tarquini SUNRED SEAT 58.298s + 4.093s 20. Masaki Kano KK BMW 58.332s + 4.127s 21. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 58.437s + 4.232s 22. Robert Dahlgren Polestar Volvo 58.804s + 4.599s 23. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 1m00.353s + 6.148s 24. Fabio Fabiani Proteam BMW 1m02.132s + 7.927s
Volvo gave the World Touring Car Championship a major boost when it announced it would enter the series, but its ambitions don't stop there. JACK COZENS examines its programme, the S60 and what its arrival means for the WTCC
The 2012 World Touring Car champion says he never had the money to race cars. Yet 2015 is his 11th season in the WTCC. He talks STUART CODLING through his journey from motorsport fan to paid professional - for little more than £100,000