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Tiago Monteiro leads Honda 1-2 in Practice 1

Tiago Monteiro set the fastest time of the 30 minute Free Practice one session ahead of rounds 19 and 20 of the 2013 World Touring Car Championship at Suzuka.

The Portuguese driver, who made his debut for the team during their home event last year set the fastest time of the session in the opening minutes and was never headed as one off team-mate Takuya Izawa finished second fastest, 0.193s off Monteiro’s time.

Norbert Michelisz in the Zengö Motorsport Honda Civic ran third fastest for a brief while before being demoted by Tom Coronel in the ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC and 2013 Champion elect Yvan Muller.

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The Frenchman, who finished the Friday test session fastest finished 0.258s shy of Monteiro’s session topping time, with Coronel 0.410s off the pace.

Pepe Oriola backed up his pace in the Friday test with the sixth fastest time while James Thompson, Stefano d’Aste, Gabriele Tarquini and Rob Huff rounded out the top 10.

Unlike in the Friday session, the opening free practice ran without any stoppages and only a couple of yellow flag periods, with the first one caused by Masaki Kano in the Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320TC, the Japanese driver spinning as he came out of the final corner. He finished 19th fastest while Marc Basseng spun off into the gravel and was towed away. The German finished 22nd fastest.

A number of other drivers had slight moments during the session, all running wide at turn one and recovering back on track at the second corner.

With the announcement before the session that the two races had been extended by a further 10km’s – or a further 4 laps around the 2.24km Suzuka East configuration – all the drivers were focusing on set up work to ensure the tyres lasted the distance.

Top of the normally aspirated cars was Jerónìmo Badaraco in the Son Veng Racing Team Chevrolet Cruze, the Macanese driver finishing 25th fastest, 2.016s off Monteiro’s best time of the session.

Free Practice 2 gets underway at 4am BST, 5am CEST, 12pm JST with Qualifying at 7.30 BST, 8.30 CEST and 15.30 JST.

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