Chevrolet driver Alain Menu set the fastest lap in today’s test session at Suzuka. The Swiss was clocked at 53.605 with only a couple of minutes left in the half-an-hour session and ousted Volvo’s Robert Dahlgren from the top of the standings.
Only a few minutes earlier and at the end of an impressive learning curve, Dahlgren had posted a lap of 53.722 that was the provisional fastest one until Menu’s exploit.
This sudden change of leadership was only the peak point of the first session for the WTCC racers on Suzuka’s East Circuit, and promised extremely close competition in tomorrow’s qualifying.
Rob Huff posted the third fastest lap of 53.861, followed by Tiago Monteiro (54.177), Yvan Muller (54.200), Tom Coronel (54.409) and Gabriele Tarquini (54.448).
Rallyman Toshihiro Arai set a promising eighth best lap of 54.479 on his first outing in a WTCC car and emerged as the best of the Japanese contingent.
Competition was equally tight in the Yokohama Trophy, with Darryl O’Young setting the pace (54.615) from Colin Turkington (54.643) and Michel Nykjær (54.721), the three of them covered by only one tenth of a second.
The session was disrupted once by the red flag, after only five minutes, when Norbert Michelisz’s spun off at the Anti-banked curve ripping his front bumper apart in the process.
Alain Menu was the fastest in today’s test session at Suzuka East Circuit
STRONG LIVE TV COVERAGE FROM SUZUKA
The WTCC Race of Japan will receive an extensive TV coverage all around the world, including live broadcasting in Japan, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
In Japan, Gaora Sports – the Japanese Sports channel – will broadcast both races live, with special focus on the Japanese drivers; they will also broadcast a dedicated magazine on Saturday 29 October.
The TXN network, comprising of six Japanese regional broadcasters (TV Osaka, TV Tokyo, TV Aichi, TV Setouchi, TV Hokkaido, TVQ Kyushu Housou), air daily news in their Neo Sport evening news. They will also broadcast a 75-minute highlights on Saturday 29 October.
European WTCC fans will be able to follow Saturday’s qualifying (8:15 CET) and Sunday’s races (7:00 and 8:30 CET) live on Eurosport. In the Americas, Speed Channel 2 will broadcast both races on a delayed basis, while Televisa Deportes will broadcast both races live in Central America.
LAUNCH OF THE WTCC-CTCC JOINT EVENT
The joint race meeting of the FIA World Touring Car Championship and China Touring Car Championship that will take place at the Shanghai Tianma Circuit on November 6th, was launched yesterday at the racetrack.
During a crowded press conference, the vice chairman of China Motorsport Federation (FASC) Wan Heping, the deputy director of Shanghai Sports Bureau Cheng Yiping, the president of the Shanghai Automobile Sports Federation Zhao Yinghua and CTCC promoter Xia Qing presented the event to a large representative of local media.
"Shanghai has a strong motor sport tradition and hosting the WTCC event will result in a huge impact on local media and fans. This international race meeting will also have positive effects in enhancing the image of Shanghai as a modern and international metropolis," said Cheng Yiping.
CORSA MOTORSPORT ENTER IN MACAU GUIA RACE
Hong Kong-based Corsa Motorsport will take part in the WTCC event at Macau, running a Chevrolet Lacetti car driven by local racer Filipe Clemente de Souza.
"We are proud to represent our country in our home race meeting," said team principal Reuter Wong. "Our team is very young, the first Hong Kong-based race outfit, but we are well prepared. It was not easy to get ready for our first appearance in WTCC, but we were able to go through. We are confident that Filipe’s experience on the Guia circuit will help to achieve decent results."
De Souza, 35 years old, has competed several times in the Macau Grand Prix supporting series, claiming a brilliant second position in the 2008 Macau Interport Race.