Photo: WTCC Media

Yvan Muller sets the pace in Free Practice 1

Citroën’s Yvan Muller led the way in the first Free Practice session at Suzuka, Japan. The Frenchman set the pace early in the session and nobody was able to beat his time after that. José María López was second in his Citroën C-Elysée, while Gabriele Tarquini came third, while setting the fastest time in the second sector of the track.

During the session there were several minor offs, including Proteam Racing’s Mehdi Bennani who spent a lot of time in the pits before heading out and trying to find the limit as he lost a lot of track time yesterday. Henry Kwong slightly hit the wall but there was no substantial damage to his Campos SEAT as he made it back to the pits.

Tiago Monteiro came a good fourth for Honda, confirming the early strong form of the Civics, while Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente set the fifth fastest time late in the session in his Chevrolet RML Cruze.

Sébastien Loeb was sixth in his Citroën C-Elysée ahead of Norbert Michelisz, who put another Civic in the top ten. ROAL Motorsport duo Tom Chilton and Tom Coronel were eighth and ninth respectively, with Dusan Borkovic closing the top ten in his Campos Racing Cruze.

Lada Sport’s Rob Huff was not too far from the Serbian, and came home 11th ahead of team-mate James Thompson. Mehdi Bennani continued to suffer from problems and eventually wound up 16th in his Honda Civic WTCC.

Next up is Free Practice 2, which is scheduled for 11.20, local time.