Alain Menu set the quickest time of the two-day World Touring Car test at Valencia this week
He set the fastest time of the test in the cool temperatures of the second morning at the Spanish circuit in his Chevrolet Lacetti.
Menu's time was one tenth of a second quicker than the best laps set by Augusto Farfus and Jorg Muller, who dominated the first day's running for BMW.
Tom Coronel's SUNRED SEAT Leon set the fourth fastest time of the test, ahead of Jordi Gene, who led the factory-run SEATs in fifth place.
James Thompson made his first appearance of the season against his WTCC opposition in the N.Technology Honda. He finished the test in eighth place, sixth tenths of a second away from Menu's benchmark.
The Briton is confident that the extra time taken to prepare the Accord Euro R will allow the car to be competitive when it races for the first time in the third round of the championship, at Valencia next month.
"We have a lot of work to do but we're working hard, completing good runs, and making sure we're competitive for the next round," he said. "That's our main agenda.
"For me it feels great to be back behind the wheel again. I feel like a kid with a new toy."
Jose Manuel Perez-Aicart also joined the WTCC field at the test, alongside Tom Coronel in a second SUNRED SEAT Leon. The 26-year-old Spaniard will race at Valencia next month as his prize for winning the 2007 SEAT Leon Supercopa feeder series.
Pos Driver Car Time Laps 1. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1:42.886 92 2. Augusto Farfus BMW 1:42.990 +0.104 189 3. Jorg Muller BMW 1:42.994 +0.108 223 4. Tom Coronel SEAT 1:43.335 +0.449 187 5. Jordi Gene SEAT 1:43.356 +0.470 74 6. Felix Porteiro BMW 1:43.377 +0.491 151 7. Yvan Muller SEAT 1:43.397 +0.511 62 8. James Thompson Honda 1:43.500 +0.614 137 9. Nicola Larini Chevrolet 1:43.534 +0.648 67 10. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT 1:43.622 +0.736 104 11. Rickard Rydell SEAT 1:43.809 +0.923 88 12. Alex Zanardi BMW 1.43.809 +0.923 94 13. Tiago Monteiro SEAT 1:43.889 +1.003 72 14. Andy Priaulx BMW 1:44.067 +1.181 227 15. Jose Manuel Perez-Aicart SEAT 1:44.367 +1.481 41
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