Sunday, 20 March 2011 10:28
World Touring Cars report - Double victory and five podium finishes for the new Cruze in Brazil as Huff and Menu win the two races, with Muller on podium twice and Bueno once.
It was a triumphal start of the season for the new Cruze 1.6 turbo, as the blue boys swept the floor in Curitiba after Rob Huff won Race 1 ahead of Muller and local hero Caca Bueno, while Alain Menu (6th in Race 1) took victory in Race 2, with Muller, Huff and Bueno taking 3rd, 4th and 5th, respectively.
The Chevrolet team could have not dreamt of a better scenario, as it leaves Brazil with plenty of cups and points.
Race 1 was relatively quite, with Huff, Muller and Bueno making a perfect use of their three top positions in the grid to control the race from flag to flag, while Menu managed to climb some positions to finish sixth.
The Swiss had been given a nice present on Saturday evening after qualifying, when the sanction imposed on one of the SEATs re-instated him in the top ten, which meant starting from the pole in Race 2.
While he couldn’t use this advantage at the start, he then put a superb performance, passing Tarquini and Coronel after fierce duels and taking a well deserved win, while Muller, Huff and Bueno finished just behind Coronel.
With these results, the new Cruze 1.6 turbo proves it is the most competitive car in the WTCC and the Chevrolet team honours in the best possible way its status of double World Champion.
Rob Huff (1st / 4th):
“It has been a brilliant weekend for the entire team and, clearly, to leave Brazil as the championship leader makes me very happy! Race 1 was pretty uneventful, we just had to finish the job we had started in qualifying. Race 2 was very intense, we all were very close. My engine stalled a little bit behind Coronel and that’s when Yvan passed me, we had a good fight in the following two corners, but everything went ok and we can be very happy with these outstanding results.”
Alain Menu (6th / 1st):
“Definitely a much better day than yesterday! I was lucky of the positive consequences of the sanction to Barth, but after all the bad luck last year, I think it was just a fair compensation.
In Race 1, I climbed a few positions and found myself behind the BMWs of Coronel and Poulsen, who were fighting hard. I stayed away from that, as I didn’t want to take any risk ahead of Race 2.
In Race 2, I had a poor start and then had to fight to regain the lead. I could pass Tarquini relatively easily but Coronel was much harder. I knew the only place where I could make it was at the end of the straight, where he was as fast as me, but where I could brake a little bit later, so I did not miss the opportunity when he left me some space on the inside.”
Yvan Muller (2nd / 3rd) :
“Two podiums in the opening meeting is a very good result. I didn’t win and I’m not leading the championship, but I am very happy, as I see that the car performs very well. I had a good fight with Rob in Race 2 but it was very fair and we both enjoyed it. Now we have to continue the work and see how the Cruze will perform in warmer weather and with more weight.”
Cacá Bueno (3rd / 5th):
“It has been a very pleasant weekend, it’s really a great experience to be part of such a team, and I am really pleased with my results, which are slightly above what I expected. In Race 1, it was not too difficult to keep the third position and finishing on the podium in front of my home crowd is a very nice reward. In Race 2, I just did everything possible to escort and protect the other Chevys. Now I just hope I can have the possibility to be again in the WTCC soon.”
“What a nice way to start the season! We can really feel proud of the entire team, the drivers and especially the engine guys, who have done a fantastic job during the winter, allowing us to live a perfect weekend here. It was also nice to see so many people here in Curitiba, I think the idea of having the Brazilian Stock Car series together with the WTCC was definitely excellent.”
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