Chevrolet’s Rob Huff ended on top of the timesheets as the penultimate event of the WTCC 2010 season got underway this afternoon in Japan. Huff emerged as the fastest with 10-minutes to go but improved again to set a final time of 1:38.059 around the 3.7-kilometre Okayama International Circuit.
His teammate and current championship leader, Yvan Muller (1:38.698) was second quickest. Following a win apiece last year, the BMWs looked strong yet again with Andy Priaulx (1:38.779) ending the 30-minute test session third using a 6-speed sequential gearbox for the first time. His team-mate, Augusto Farfus (1:3.028) was fifth.
Chevrolet’s Alain Menu (1:38.794) was fourth with SR-Sport team-mates Tiago Monteiro (1:39.381) and Tom Coronel (1:39.453) sixth and seventh, despite the Dutchman locking up and running through the gravel at Turn 1 early in the session.
Darryl O’Young (1:39.503) was impressive in his Chevrolet Lacetti finishing the best independent in eighth position overall. Robert Dahlgren also had a good showing recording a 1:39.510 in his Volvo C30 to be placed ninth.
Michel Nykjær (1:39.628) rounded out the top ten to end the day as best rookie.
With a season record of 27 cars out on track, Yukinori Taniguchi (1:39.904) was quickest of the four Japanese drivers, clocking the in 15th best lap.
Reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini (1:40.674) finished 17th, losing running time after suffering a front left puncture. After he took a shortcut to the garages across the paddock the team got him back out for the final minutes.

Rob Huff and his Chevrolet Cruze emerged as the fastest in today’s test

Official proceedings to the WTCC Race of Japan got underway yesterday when the Mayor of Mimasaka City and a delegation of the Okayama Prefecture, received the drivers and other WTCC representatives during a welcome dinner at the Junogou Grand Hotel.
After the speeches delivered by the Mayor and WTCC promoter Marcello Lotti, representatives of the Manufacturers and the drivers were invited onto the stage for a family picture.
Later the guests were treated to a Japanese buffet, while they were entertained by local artists who performed in classical Japanese dance and drum shows.
Eventually some of the WTCC guests enthusiastically had a go at fencing with the samurai swords and playing drums.

Family picture for WTCC drivers with Mimasaka City’s mayor and notables

The new Japanese Touring Car Championship that will be organised from 2012 was launched last Tuesday by Concorde Management and Askatsu-DK during a crowded press conference at Tokyo’s UDX Theatre.
"I am obviously extremely pleased that Concorde and ADK have decided to restore the Japanese Touring Car Championship and follow the way traced by the FIA in terms of technical regulations. Especially now, at the eve of a radical renovation that sees the launch of a new set of rules based on the 1.6 litre turbocharged engine," commented Lotti on the fact that the new series will follow the FIA Super 2000 technical regulations.
The JTCC promoter is already in negotiations with its counterpart of the China Touring Car Championship to organise a few joint events.

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