The Chevrolet trio of Yvan Muller, Rob Huff and Alain Menu posted the fastest laps in today’s test at Suzuka.
During this very first session, all three drivers in the works Cruze cars were able to beat last year’s WTCC track record on the East Circuit (53.443).As soon as the testing resumed after the second red flag, Muller (53.129), Huff (53.225) and Menu (53.442) proved the fastest of the field once again, while their competitors’ efforts to improve were frustrated by a third red flag.
Pepe Oriola’s SEAT León (53.810) was classified fourth with a gap of nearly seven tenths from the lead. Lukoil Racing team mates Gabriele Tarquini (53.826) and Aleksei Dudukalo (54.042) ranked fifth and sixth, followed by Tom Coronel (54.136) in the fastest of the BMW cars and Alex MacDowall’s bamboo Chevrolet (54.138).
Tiago Monteiro drove the new Honda Civic to set the ninth fastest lap (54.147), ahead of Norbert Michelisz’s BMW (54.179).
The fastest of the Team Aon Ford Focus cars was Tom Chilton’s, in 12th position.
The session was red flagged three times. A first time, with twelve minutes left on the clock, when Gabriele Tarquini spun and beached his SEAT car at Turn 4, then again, with five minutes to go, when Alberto Cerqui’s BMW got stranded off Turn 6, and finally for good when Charles Ng’s BMW went off at Turn 1, thirty seconds before the end.
A few other drivers had moments. Stefano D’Aste spun on his first lap; Norbert Michelisz and Fernando Monje performed 360-degree pirouettes at Turn 9; René Münnich and Tom Coronel went wide at Turn 7 and Turn 1 respectively. But they all managed to rejoin without damage.