The form book: Suzuka

A look at who is on form going into the FIA WTCC Race of Japan
The FIA WTCC visits Asian soil for the first time in 2013 this weekend.

The Suzuka East circuit for the third year in succession hosts the Race of Japan, a track which is the shortest on the calendar at just under 1.4 miles with seven corners to negotiate to complete a lap.

The event plays host to the first race in the 'Eurosport Asia Trophy', which sees Asian race-by-race entrants competing for their own silverware.

The Race of Japan was held at the Okayama 'TI Aida' Circuit from 2008-2010 but was replaced in favour of current F1 track, Suzuka in 2011 with the WTCC using the smaller East circuit. The track is tight, twisty, but overtaking opportunities are aplenty, so it should make for a good two races.

* Alain Menu has taken two victories over the last two meetings and he also has the pole position record of 52.885 and the race fastest lap of 53.885 from his terrific performance in race one last year.

* BMW victors include 'Flying Dutchman', Tom Coronel from race two in 2011 and Stefano D'Aste last year, also in the second race – the win made the Italian the most winning BMW driver for 2012. This year though, the PB Racing driver has struggled for any strong consistent points finishes.

* Yvan Muller had his first genuine chance to take a fourth title last time out at Sonoma, but as the French driver heads to Suzuka, he knows he only needs to score another podium with Tarquini behind him to clinch the 2013 championship and, in doing so, becoming the first WTCC champion to have taken the title before the final round at Macau.

* Gabriele Tarquini found some form in Sonoma, taking a victory and overhauling Michel Nykjaer in the fight for second in overall championship standings. Tarquini knows the championship is 99.9% unlikely, but he and Honda will be aiming for wins at the Japanese track to continue winning form to set up a solid rest of the season for the Civic drivers.

* James Nash beat joint independent leader, Nykjaer to keep the title fight for the Yokohama trophy potentially going into Marrakech. The Danish driver built up a small lead, but a torrid time at Sonoma saw his nine points lead erased and he is now out of the title race after news he has lost his drive with NIKA Racing.

Mehdi Bennani will be looking to continue from his strong second place in race two from Sonoma, the result coming despite a power steering failure on the familiarisation lap and requests from the driver to pull in to the pits to retire.

by Dexter Fielding

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Yvan Muller - Citroen Racing [Pic credit: FIA WTCC]
Nestor Girolami, Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo, WTCC [Credit: WTCC]
Tom Chilton, Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen [Credit: XPB]
Tom Coronel, Roal Chevrolet [Credit: WTCC media]
Gabriele Tarquini, Lada, Moscow [Credit: WTCC media]
Nicky Catsburg, Lada, WTCC [Credit: WTCC media]
Nicky Catsburg, Lada, WTCC [Credit: WTCC media]
Jose Maria Lopez, Citroen, [Credit: WTCC media]
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing [credit: Florent Gooden / DPP]
Jose Maria Lopez, Citroen, [Credit: WTCC media]
Rob Huff - Castrol Honda Civic
Rob Huff - Castrol Honda Civic
Tom Coronel - ROAL Chevrolet Cruze
Rob Huff - Castrol Honda Civic [credit: FIA WTCC Media]
Rob Huff - Castrol Honda Civic [credit: FIA WTCC Media]
Yvan Muller - Citroen Racing [credit: FIA WTCC Media]
Yvan Muller - Citroen Racing [credit: FIA WTCC Media]
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing [credit: FIA WTCC Media]

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