Robert Huff took Chevrolet to the top of the timesheets in this afternoon’s free test session as the penultimate round of the 2010 World Touring Car Championship season kicked off at Okayama’s TI Aida circuit in Japan.
Championship leader and team-mate to Huff, Yvan Muller, finished second-quickest, while Andy Priaulx (a winner here last year) went third-fastest, using the session to try out a six-speed sequential gearbox in his BMW.
The third Chevrolet of Alain Menu split the BMW pairing of Priaulx and Augusto Farfus to go fourth-fastest, while Tiago Monteiro was the quickest of the SEAT drivers in sixth.
Despite a trip through the Turn 1 gravel trap early in the proceedings, Tom Coronel took the sister SR Sport León TDI to seventh-quickest, while Darryl O’Young finished up an impressive eighth-fastest and took the honours of the session’s quickest Independent Trophy driver.
The Scandinavian pairing of Robert Dahlgren (showing impressive pace in his Volvo) and Michel Nykjær rounded out the top ten on the timing screens.
One absentee from the head of the timesheets was defending champion Gabriele Tarquini, who wound up 17th-quickest having lost track time with a puncture. He returned to the pits – cheekily taking a shortcut through the paddock rather than winding his way along the entire circuit length – and rejoined in the closing minutes, but was unable to move further up the order.
The season-record 27-car field sees a total of four Japanese drivers on display in front of their home crowd. Yukinori Taniguchi finished comfortably the quickest of the quartet, winding up 15th-fastest overall.
2010 WTCC Okayama Free Test Session Times:
[Original images via FIA WTCC official site]
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