Alain Menu - Photo Credit: fiawtcc.com

Alain Menu - Photo Credit: fiawtcc.com

Alain Menu carried his pacesetting form from the Friday test session into free practice on Saturday morning in Suzuka.

The first of the two practice sessions took place on a wet track after an earlier rain shower. Rob Huff posted the fastest time for Chevrolet, but his teammate Menu fell just 0.040 seconds shy with his best effort.

Tiago Monteiro went third quickest, preventing a Chevy 1-2-3 and forcing championship leader Yvan Muller to settle for fourth place. Robert Dahlgren was fifth in the Polestar Volvo, ahead of Gabriele Tarquini.

The track was still damp at the start of the second session, though it dried up as the session went on. Menu was 0.365s quicker than Huff, with Muller a further 0.237s behind in third. Fredy Barth was a surprise best non-Chevrolet in fourth, only seven hundredths of a second behind Muller.

His Sunred teammate Monteiro was fifth, with rally star Toshi Arai sixth in his fourth factory Chevrolet. Fellow local driver Hiroki Yoshimoto was a strong seventh in his Sunred, with the BMWs of Mehdi Bennani, Colin Turkington and Franz Engstler completing the top ten.

Free practice 1 times:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Robert Huff Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 58.657 18
2 Alain Menu Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 58.697 0.040 22
3 Tiago Monteiro Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 58.918 0.261 21
4 Yvan Muller Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 59.007 0.350 22
5 Robert Dahlgren Polestar Volvo C30 Drive 59.284 0.627 9
6 Gabriele Tarquini Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 59.322 0.665 21
7 Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 59.354 0.697 19
8 Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 320 TC 59.416 0.759 17
9 Kristian Poulsen Engstler BMW 320 TC 59.426 0.769 23
10 Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 320 TC 59.507 0.850 30
11 Colin Turkington Wiechers BMW 320 TC 59.639 0.982 22
12 Javier Villa Proteam BMW 320 TC 59.685 1.028 25
13 Michel Nykjaer Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 59.689 1.032 19
14 Yukinori Taniguchi Sunred Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 59.774 1.117 25
15 Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 320 TC 59.874 1.217 24
16 Aleksei Dudukalo Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 59.885 1.228 23
17 Fredy Barth Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 59.911 1.254 21
18 Toshihiro Arai Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 59.939 1.282 15
19 Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 320 TC 1:00.057 1.400 25
20 Pepe Oriola Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 1:00.123 1.466 14
21 Hiroki Yoshimoto Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 1:00.580 1.923 13
22 Charles Ng Engstler BMW 320si 1:00.600 1.943 9
23 Masaki Kano KK BMW 320 TC 1:00.793 2.136 17
24 Fabio Fabiani Proteam BMW 320si 1:03.460 4.803 18

Free practice 2 times:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Alain Menu Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 54.205 15
2 Robert Huff Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 54.570 0.365 12
3 Yvan Muller Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 54.807 0.602 16
4 Fredy Barth Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 54.879 0.674 15
5 Tiago Monteiro Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 54.924 0.719 16
6 Toshihiro Arai Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 55.073 0.868 22
7 Hiroki Yoshimoto Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 55.226 1.021 19
8 Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 320 TC 55.277 1.072 21
9 Colin Turkington Wiechers BMW 320 TC 55.293 1.088 15
10 Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 320 TC 55.301 1.096 23
11 Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 320 TC 55.303 1.098 20
12 Javier Villa Proteam BMW 320 TC 55.372 1.167 18
13 Pepe Oriola Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 55.391 1.186 19
14 Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 55.691 1.486 11
15 Yukinori Taniguchi Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 55.696 1.491 22
16 Aleksei Dudukalo Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 57.354 3.149 17
17 Michel Nykjaer Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 57.747 3.542 9
18 Kristian Poulsen Engstler BMW 320 TC 57.831 3.626 15
19 Gabriele Tarquini Sunred Sunred SR Leon 1.6T 58.298 4.093 13
20 Masaki Kano KK BMW 320 TC 58.332 4.127 17
21 Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 320 TC 58.437 4.232 8
22 Robert Dahlgren Polestar Volvo C30 Drive 58.804 4.599 10
23 Charles Ng Engstler BMW 320si 1:00.353 6.148 18
24 Fabio Fabiani Proteam BMW 320si 1:02.132 7.927 13