Motegi WTCC: Gabriele Tarquini's Honda completes practice sweep

Honda began its home World Touring Car Championship round at Motegi by topping all three practice sessions, with Gabriele Tarquini setting the pace throughout

Motegi WTCC: Gabriele Tarquini's Honda completes practice sweep

The Italian had been quickest in Friday's test, and repeated the feat in both Saturday morning sessions in the factory Civic, setting a best time of 1m56.968s.

Honda's success spread beyond Tarquini, enjoying a one-two in Saturday's opener with Zengo driver Norbert Michelisz placing second.

There was almost a clean sweep of the top three for Honda, but Citroen's Sebastien Loeb managed to head the second factory Honda of Tiago Monteiro for third.

Loeb would repeat the trick of denying Honda dominance by beating Monteiro again in the following session, placing second ahead of the Portuguese driver and Michelisz.

The Frenchman was the best of the Citroens throughout the practices with Yvan Muller the next best Citroen in fifth after the first session, before Ma Qing Hua was second to Loeb within the team in sixth later on.

Championship leader Jose Maria Lopez was on the outskirts of the top 10, taking eighth and 10th.

None of the Chevrolets got into the top 10 in practice one, but they improved in the second session, with Tom Coronel impressing to take fifth, some way ahead of Hugo Valente and Tom Chilton in eighth and ninth.

Nicky Catsburg had the best running from the Lada trio with a seventh and 10th, but Rob Huff's ninth was followed by a mechanical problem in the second that meant he finished a lowly 17th.

Day two of their new team-mate Nicolas Lapierre's first touring car weekend began with a best finish of 11th.

The Motegi practices were preceded by the shaking after-effects of an earthquake in Tokyo, but it didn't impact running.

PRACTICE ONE TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Gabriele Tarquini Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 1m57.127s - 9
2 Norbert Michelisz Zengo Motorsport Honda 1m57.765s 0.638s 8
3 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m57.988s 0.861s 9
4 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 1m58.074s 0.947s 7
5 Yvan Muller Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m58.228s 1.101s 7
6 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 1m58.308s 1.181s 10
7 Ma Qinghua Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m58.419s 1.292s 10
8 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m58.626s 1.499s 6
9 Rob Huff LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 1m58.716s 1.589s 7
10 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 1m58.720s 1.593s 8
11 Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet 1m58.795s 1.668s 8
12 Tom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 1m58.883s 1.756s 9
13 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 1m59.236s 2.109s 9
14 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 1m59.549s 2.422s 9
15 Stefano D'Aste All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 1m59.720s 2.593s 10
16 Nicolas Lapierre LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 1m59.819s 2.692s 8
17 Gregoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet 2m00.293s 3.166s 7

PRACTICE TWO TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Gabriele Tarquini Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 1m56.968s - 13
2 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m57.262s 0.294s 10
3 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 1m57.425s 0.457s 10
4 Norbert Michelisz Zengo Motorsport Honda 1m57.434s 0.466s 11
5 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 1m57.525s 0.557s 10
6 Ma Qinghua Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m57.652s 0.684s 12
7 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 1m57.708s 0.740s 11
8 Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet 1m57.798s 0.830s 10
9 Tom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 1m57.944s 0.976s 9
10 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m58.195s 1.227s 9
11 Nicolas Lapierre LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 1m58.332s 1.364s 12
12 Stefano D'Aste All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 1m58.333s 1.365s 12
13 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 1m58.430s 1.462s 11
14 Gregoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet 1m58.578s 1.610s 11
15 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 1m58.702s 1.734s 10
16 Yvan Muller Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m59.357s 2.389s 10
17 Rob Huff LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 2m55.541s 58.573s 3


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