Alain Menu takes pole position for Suzuka World Touring Car race

Alain Menu secured pole position for tomorrow's opening World Touring Car Championship race at Suzuka, giving him his third pole for the season, and extending Chevrolet's streak to 10 from 10 for the year

Alain Menu takes pole position for Suzuka World Touring Car race

On an afternoon livened up by a sprinkle of rain just prior to the second phase of qualifying, Menu managed a best time of 53.443s to edge out Chevrolet team-mate and championship leader Yvan Muller.

Robert Dahlgren derailed the RML squad's hopes of a one-two-three by going third-fastest in the Polestar Volvo, leading Rob Huff to settle for fourth. The level of competition among the frontrunners was underlined by the fact that the first two rows were covered by just 0.08 seconds.

Tom Coronel will start from fifth in his ROAL BMW alongside the SUNRED SEAT of Tiago Monteiro. Fellow SUNRED driver Michel Nykjaer was best of the independent runners with seventh, leaving Gabriele Tarquini (SUNRED), Darryl O'Young (bamboo Chevrolet) and Colin Turkington (Wiechers BMW) to round out the top 10.

The session was interrupted by one red flag, which was triggered when Pepe Oriola lost control of his SUNRED entry at the exit of the final corner and clouted the barriers five minutes before the end of the first phase, tearing off his left-front wheel.

At that point Tarquini, Turkington and O'Young were all outside the top 10, but when the green flag came out the trio made good use of the final couple of minutes to get themselves above the bubble.

Race one starting grid: Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Alain Menu Chevrolet 53.443s 2. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 53.492s + 0.049s 3. Robert Dahlgren Polestar Volvo 53.512s + 0.069s 4. Rob Huff Chevrolet 53.520s + 0.077s 5. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 53.601s + 0.158s 6. Tiago Monteiro SUNRED SEAT 53.798s + 0.355s 7. Michel Nykjaer SUNRED SEAT 53.811s + 0.368s 8. Gabriele Tarquini SUNRED SEAT 53.824s + 0.381s 9. Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet 53.902s + 0.459s 10. Colin Turkington Wiechers BMW 54.339s + 0.896s 11. Javier Villa Proteam BMW 54.006s + 0.334s 12. Yukinori Taniguchi Chevrolet 54.070s + 0.398s 13. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 54.073s + 0.401s 14. Kristian Poulsen Engstler BMW 54.126s + 0.454s 15. Aleksei Dudukalo SUNRED SEAT 54.127s + 0.455s 16. Toshi Arai Chevrolet 54.195s + 0.523s 17. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 54.219s + 0.547s 18. Fredy Barth SUNRED SEAT 54.411s + 0.739s 19. Hiroki Yoshimoto SUNRED SEAT 54.466s + 0.794s 20. Pepe Oriola SUNRED SEAT 54.730s + 1.058s 21. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 55.002s + 1.330s 22. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 55.356s + 1.684s 23. Masaki Kano KK BMW 55.551s + 1.879s 24. Fabio Fabiani Proteam BMW 58.023s + 4.351s Race two starting grid: 1. Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet 2. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 3. Rob Huff Chevrolet 4. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 5. Tiago Monteiro SUNRED SEAT 6. Robert Dahlgren Polestar Volvo 7. Alain Menu Chevrolet 8. Gabriele Tarquini SUNRED SEAT 9. Michel Nykjaer SUNRED SEAT 10. Colin Turkington Wiechers BMW 11. Javier Villa Proteam BMW 12. Yukinori Taniguchi Bamboo Chevrolet 13. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 14. Kristian Poulsen Engstler BMW 15. Aleksei Dudukalo SUNRED SEAT 16. Toshi Arai Chevrolet 17. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 18. Fredy Barth SUNRED SEAT 19. Hiroki Yoshimoto SUNRED SEAT 20. Pepe Oriola SUNRED SEAT 21. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 22. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 23. Masaki Kano KK BMW 24. Fabio Fabiani Proteam BMW Race one grid = Q2 top 10, Q1 11th onwards Race two grid = Q1 top 10 reversed, then Q1 times 11th onwards 
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Alain Menu leads second World Touring Car practice in Japan

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