Alain Menu delivered a warning shot to BMW by going quickest in the warm-up for the World Touring Car Championship rounds at Okayama
The Chevrolet driver's 1m38.649s marker came on his first lap of the 15-minute session and put the Swiss 0.058 seconds clear of Tiago Monteiro, who was second quickest.
Monteiro's SR-Sport SEAT team-mate Tom Coronel was third with championship leader Yvan Muller fourth in his Chevrolet.
Norbert Michelisz was again impressive in fifth place in his Zengo-Dension SEAT while Britain's Colin Turkington was one place further back in his WSR BMW.
Rob Huff (Chevrolet) and Fredy Barth (SUNRED SEAT) were next up while Darryl O'Young was impressively ninth quickest and the best independent in his bamboo-engineering Chevrolet Lacetti.
Andy Priaulx, who will start race one from pole position, was a disappointing 14th quickest, four places behind his RBM BMW team-mate Augusto Farfus and three behind fellow title challenger Gabriele Tarquini (SR-Sport).
Pos Driver Car Time Gap 1. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1m38.649s 2. Tiago Monteiro SEAT 1m38.707s + 0.058s 3. Tom Coronel SEAT 1m38.911s + 0.262s 4. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 1m38.913s + 0.264s 5. Norbert Michelisz SEAT 1m39.022s + 0.373s 6. Colin Turkington BMW 1m39.160s + 0.511s 7. Rob Huff Chevrolet 1m39.177s + 0.528s 8. Fredy Barth SEAT 1m39.527s + 0.878s 9. Darryl O'Young Chevrolet 1m39.541s + 0.892s 10. Augusto Farfus BMW 1m39.550s + 0.901s 11. Kristian Poulsen BMW 1m39.730s + 1.081s 12. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT 1m39.808s + 1.159s 13. Michel Nykjaer SEAT 1m39.951s + 1.302s 14. Andy Priaulx BMW 1m40.004s + 1.355s 15. Franz Engstler BMW 1m40.202s + 1.553s 16. Michael Rossi SEAT 1m40.389s + 1.740s 17. Yukinori Taniguchi Chevrolet 1m40.554s + 1.905s 18. Mehdi Bennani BMW 1m41.023s + 2.374s 19. Masataka Yanagida BMW 1m41.167s + 2.518s 20. Stefano D'Aste BMW 1m41.227s + 2.578s 21. Andrei Romanov BMW 1m41.327s + 2.678s 22. Yoshihiro Ito BMW 1m41.717s + 3.068s 23. Nobuteru Taniguchi BMW 1m41.822s + 3.173s 24. Kevin Chen BMW 1m42.012s + 3.363s 25. Henry Ho BMW 1m42.955s + 4.306s 26. Sergio Hernandez BMW
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