Gabriele Tarquini admitted that the Okayama circuit isn't one that will favour the SEAT Leon TDi, despite posting the third quickest time in qualifying for the penultimate rounds of the WTCC season.
The Italian was the quickest front-wheel drive runner during the 30 minute session at the wheel of his diesel-powered car, just two-tenths of a second behind weekend pace-setter Augusto Farfus.
However, a penalty for cutting the first chicane at Monza during the final European round of the season means Tarquini will be forced to start the opening race of the weekend from eighth on the grid – just ahead of team-mate and title rival Yvan Muller.
Despite his pace, Tarquini admitted that the high tyre-wear at the circuit could work against the front-heavy Leon and said he anticipated a difficult race day.
"Our car is not so good on this track as there is not much grip and it is hard on the tyres," he said. "I am pleased to be the first of the front wheel drive cars. The race will be tough tomorrow as I will not be starting from this grid position, but in eighth.
"It will be good to fight with my team-mate Muller as he is leading the championship. It is very easy to lose points and positions in the races, anything can happen – even Huff and Priaulx who are close to us in grid position could come back. I hope to fight with Muller right up until the final corner of the second race in Macau!"