2011 FIA WTCC Race of Japan
|Date||23 October, 2011|
|Location||Suzuka City, Japan|
2.243 kilometres (1.394 mi)
The 2011 FIA WTCC Race of Japan was the tenth round of the 2011 World Touring Car Championship season and the fourth running of the FIA WTCC Race of Japan. It was held on 23 October 2011 at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka City, Japan.
The first race was won by Alain Menu of Chevrolet RML while Michel Nykjær finished on the podium for the first time in World Touring Car Championship. The second race was won by Tom Coronel of ROAL Motorsport.
Chevrolet RML added a fourth Chevrolet Cruze for the local rally driver Toshi Arai. Formula D driver Charles Ng joined Liqui Moly Team Engstler in a BMW 320si while Hiroki Yoshimoto joined SUNRED Engineering to drive one of their SUNRED SR León 1.6Ts. Colin Turkington returned to Wiechers-Sport having last raced for them at the Race of UK. Masaki Kano drove for DeTeam KK Motorsport in their BMW 320 TC.
Testing and free practice
Menu led Friday's test session having displaced Polestar Racing's Robert Dahlgren late on. Robert Huff, who had lost his championship lead at the last round was third with Tiago Monteiro separating him from championship leader Muller. Darryl O'Young in the bamboo-engineering Chevrolet was the quickest independent driver when he ended the session ninth. The session had been stopped five minutes in when Norbert Michelisz went off the circuit.
Qualifying had started with a threat of rain as Menu took pole position in qualifying with championship leading team–mate Muller second. The first session was stopped twice, firstly when Proteam Racing's Mehdi Bennani got stuck in the gravel at the final corner and then again when Pepe Oriola also went off at the final corner and crashed into the wall. O'Young finished the first session tenth and therefore took the reversed grid pole position for race two where he would be joined on the front row by Coronel. Yukinori Taniguchi was 12th at the end of the session and was the quickest local driver.
All the drivers taking part in the second session set their best times in their early runs. At the end of Q2 Menu was ahead of Muller and Dahlgren. Nykjær was the best placed independent driver in seventh.
Fabiani had again failed to get within 107% of the fastest Q1 time but was not allowed to start the races after an altercation with the stewards as well as having incurred a number of other penalties already. Oriola required an engine change and would therefore take a five–place grid drop in race one while Arai failed to report to scrutineering during Q1 so his qualifying times were removed.
Pole sitter Menu led the warm–up session before the first race, the session came to a close early when Yoshimoto ended up in the gravel.
Menu started from pole position while Dahlgren behind was tagged by Nykjær which saw the Volvo driver spin and come back across the track at the first corner as the rest of the field passed. Coronel and Tarquini then came together which caught out Tiago Monteiro, Javier Villa, Barth and Yoshimoto; Tarquini and Villa were able to continue. The safety car was brought out while the stranded cars were removed, when the race resumed on lap seven it was Muller leading from Menu and Huff. The following lap Menu was able to make a successful pass for the lead, two laps later Muller then made a mistake and dropped behind Huff and Nykjær. Aleksei Dudukalo had a narrow escape when he spun on the exit of the final corner and came close to hitting the pit wall while team–mate Tarquini had recovered to ninth place after his first lap collision. At the end of the race, Menu led a Chevrolet 1–2 with Huff while Nykjær claimed his first outright podium result in third and the independents' victory with it. Muller was fourth while Taniguchi claimed his best result in the championship by finishing seventh behind Turkington. Bennani in eighth resisted a late charge from Tarquini.
Rain had started to fall before the start of the race. O'Young started on pole position but he was passed straight away by Coronel as O'Young was tapped by Tarquini and spun. Dahlgren had got through to fourth at the expense of Menu while Muller and Huff were closing in on Coronel. Tarquini was served with a drive–through penalty on lap five for the collision with O'Young, he went into the pits for his penalty before retiring on lap twelve. Having previously attempted a pass on Huff for third, Dahlgren was re–passed by Menu as his Volvo C30 Drive was plagued by a misfiring engine. Coronel beat Muller to the line by inches, Huff was third and Menu was fourth. Dahlgren ended up fifth while Nykjær in sixth was the Yokohama Trophy victor once again.
- Bold denotes Pole position for second race.
- ^1 — Arai failed to report to the weighbridge during qualifying and so his times from the session were deleted.
- Bold denotes Fastest lap.
- Bold denotes Fastest lap.
Standings after the event
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of drivers' standings.
- Beer, Matt (26 September 2011). "Rally star Toshi Arai to race for Chevrolet in Suzuka World Touring Car event". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Allen, Peter (5 October 2011). "Charles Ng Joins Engstler For Asian WTCC Rounds". The Checkered Flag. BlackEagleMedia Network. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Meissner, Johan (29 September 2011). "Hiroki Yoshimoto to race for SUNRED in Japan". TouringCarTimes. Mediaempire Stockholm AB. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Abbott, Andrew (8 October 2011). "Turkington returns for Japan and China". Touring-Cars.net. Andrew Abbott. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Hudson, Neil (3 October 2011). "Masaki Kano to drive for Engstler in Japan". TouringCarTimes. Mediaempire Stockholm AB. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Allen, Peter (21 October 2011). "Menu Quickest In Testing For WTCC's First Suzuka Visit". The Checkered Flag. BlackEagleMedia Network. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Hudson, Neil (22 October 2011). "Rob Huff quickest in Free Practice 1". TouringCarTimes. Mediaempire Stockholm AB. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Hudson, Neil (22 October 2011). "Alain Menu on top in final practice in Japan". TouringCarTimes. Mediaempire Stockholm AB. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Abbott, Andrew (22 October 2011). "Menu takes Suzuka pole". Touring-Cars.net. Andrew Abbott. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Hudson, Neil (22 October 2011). "Fabiani not allowed to race as Oriola & Arai drop spots". TouringCarTimes. Mediaempire Stockholm AB. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Hudson, Neil (23 October 2011). "Menu on top again in sunny warm-up". TouringCarTimes. Mediaempire Stockholm AB. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "ROUNDS 19 & 20 – SUZUKA, JAPAN RACE REPORT" (PDF). World Touring Car Championship. Kigema Sport Organisation. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
|World Touring Car Championship|
2011 FIA WTCC Race of Spain
|2011 World Touring Car Championship season||Next race:
2011 FIA WTCC Race of China
2010 FIA WTCC Race of Japan
|FIA WTCC Race of Japan||Next race:
2012 FIA WTCC Race of Japan