Motegi, FP2: Michelisz fastest again
Michigami’s performance was particularly notable
Norbert Michelisz continued to set the pace as heavy rain swept across Twin Ring Motegi for the second Free Practice session at FIA WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Japan this morning.
The Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team driver, who was also fastest in Free Practice 1 on Saturday, jumped to the top of the FIA World Touring Car Championship timesheets with a pair of rapid laps 20 minutes into the session at the 4.8km circuit. His best lap of 2m08.935s left him 0.5s ahead of local hero Ryo Michigami in his Honda Racing Team JAS Civic.
Michigami’s performance was particularly notable, given that his team had to build up a new car for this event in less than 24 hours after the decision was taken to switch machines for his home race. But because Michigami is running with a different engine to the one used at the previous event in China, he will start the Opening Race from the back of the grid.
Esteban Guerrieri, subbing for the injured Tiago Monteiro this weekend, made it a Honda 1-2-3 with an impressive third best time on his first appearance for the Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team. WTCC Trophy points leader Tom Chilton was fourth for Sébastien Loeb Racing and described the conditions as “wet and wild”.
Nicky Catsburg was the best of the Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60s in fifth, but his team-mate Néstor Girolami had a miserable session, spinning out after just five of the 45 minutes.
Yann Ehrlacher was sixth in his RC Motorsport entry, ahead of WTCC championship leader Thed Björk in his Volvo.
The Citroëns of Rob Huff’s ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport entry and Mehdi Bennani’s Sébastien Loeb Racing version were eighth and ninth, ahead of Kevin Gleason’s RC Motorsport car which rounded out the top 10.
Qualifying for WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Japan will follow from 09h40 local time.
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