Chevrolet Confident As WTCC Goes To Portuguese Beaches
For the first time this season, the World Touring Car Championship will visit a race track not yet seen on the WTCC tour so far. Next weekend, the Chevrolet WTCC team will face the competition on the Portuguese track of Estoril, near the beach resort by the same name.
It is not the first time the WTCC visits Portugal, as already last year the closest FIA competition in the world visited the Porto street course, where Chevrolet scored its first 1-2-3-finish. But for logistic reasons the Porto race can only be organized every two years, so the Race of Portugal alternates between the home of the port wine and the former home of the F1 Grand Prix in this important southern European market.
The Chevrolet team and drivers of course hope to continue the trend they started last year, when the blue cars won at every new venue. The authors of two wins and four more podium finishes so far this year, Nicola Larini, Rob Huff and Alain Menu are keen to keep the momentum going as well as to keep Chevrolet's tradition intact. The times set at last week's test in Monza, where Menu was just a few thousandths of a second slower than the fastest car, clearly indicate that the three Chevrolet Lacettis are amongst the race favourites in Portugal, especially considering two of the cars are running very little ballast.
Rob Huff: "I'm very much looking forward to going to Estoril. It's a fantastic track, with lots of history to it, and I hope that by the end of the weekend I will have added some history to it on behalf of Chevrolet. The track is quite unique in that it doesn't really compare to any other circuit. It's not easy, with lots of everything, we have already tested there in winter so it won't be completely new to us. During the test our Chevrolet Lacetti seemed to suit the track. With only 27 kilos of success ballast I will be one of the lightest cars around, and with the number of heavy cars on the grid increasing by the race we could spring a very good result there. Of course, I'm gutted by the fact hat I've lost six points in Brno, but I'm confident that I can win those back in Portugal and even bring home some more. We're now in sixth but I hope we can leave Estoril in fourth in the standings."
Alain Menu: "Like Rob and Nic I'm looking forward to Estoril very much. We've just had a very good official group test at Monza, where we once again confirmed that we're right on the ball. I'll be the heaviest of the three Chevrolets in Portugal, but I'll still be carrying a lot less weight than some of the other frontrunners. At the last race in Brno, the track favored the rear-wheel drive cars and the diesel cars. I still managed a podium finish, so I'm quite optimistic for next weekend's races. There's no reason why all three of us shouldn't be fighting for at least a podium finish or two."
Nicola Larini:"Brno was such a difficult week-end for me I hope that I have spent there the entire allocation of bad luck for the year! On a more serious note, I really look forward to Estoril, a track that should suit the Lacettis well. In terms of success ballast, I will be lighter than most of our main competitors and I intend to make a good use of this opportunity. Following the understeer problems my usual race car suffered in Valencia and Brno, the team has decided to have it completely checked. This means that in Portugal I will drive the spare car, this is the car I drove in Monza last week and is absolutely identical to the race cars. We tested in Estoril twice during the winter, in December on a dry track and in February in wet conditions. Although it was a different season and the car we used then did not have the full 2008 developments, the information and the parameters gathered at that time will be very useful for setting up the cars next week-end. I only have good memories of Estoril: the last time I raced there, in 2003, I was the fastest in practice and in the race, so I hope I can be in the same kind of pace. For the rest, I think that if the current heat wave in Southern Europe continues, we are all going to have an additional rival to beat..."
Eric Neve: "We had an extremely successful weekend in Portugal last year, and we're looking forward to repeat the exercise. Rob and Nicola are the lightest of the front-running cars so race wins are definitely on the cards. From a marketing point of view going to the south of Europe is always a pleasure as the southern countries are important markets for Chevrolet and thus our motorsports achievements blend in with the overall strategies. Add to that the fact that we're racing by one of the nicest seaside resorts in the country and the fact that the Portuguese are just motorsports mad and you know we will be having one great weekend."
ESTROIL RACE SCHEDULE (Local time = CET minus 1 hour)
Friday, 11th July 2008
15.00-15.30 (16.00-16.30 CET) Testing
Saturday, 12th July 2008
08.30-09.00 (09.30-10.00 CET) Free Practice 1
11.00-11.30 (12.00-12.30 CET) Free Practice 2
15.00-15.30 (16.00-16.30 CET) Qualifying
Sunday, 13th July 2008
09.30-09.45 (10.30-10-45 CET) Warm up
13.20-13.45 (14.20-14.45 CET) Race 1 (12 laps = 50.184kms) (Rolling start)
17.20-17.45 (18.20-18.45 CET) Race 2 (12 laps = 50.184kms) (Standing start)
DRIVERS POINTS STANDINGS AFTER RACE 10 OF 24
1. G Tarquini (SEAT), 58 points; 2. Y Muller (SEAT), 43; 3. R Rydell (SEAT), 37; 4. A Priaulx (BMW), 34; 5. J Gene (SEAT), 30; 6. R Huff (Chevrolet), 27;... 9. A Menu (Chevrolet), 23;... 11. N Larini (Chevrolet), 19;...
MANUFACTURERS POINTS STANDINGS AFTER RACE 10 OF 24
1. SEAT, 138 points; 2. BMW, 117; 3. Chevrolet, 95; 4. Honda, 19.
SUCCESS BALLAST FOR ESTORIL
1. G Tarquini (SEAT), 70kgs; 2. A Zanardi (BMW), 48kgs; 3. F Porteiro (BMW), 47kgs; 4. Y Muller (SEAT), 43kgs; 5. A Farfus (BMW), 42kgs; 6. R Rydell (SEAT), 37kgs; 7. A Priaulx (BMW), 34kgs; 8. A Menu (Chevrolet), 33kgs; 9. J Muller (BMW), 31kgs; 10. J Gene (SEAT), 30kgs; 11. T Boardman (BMW), 30kgs; 12. K Poulsen (BMW), 30kgs; 13. A Lvov (Honda), 30kgs; 14. A Smetsky (Honda), 30kgs; 15. R Huff (Chevrolet), 27kgs; 16. N Larini (Chevrolet), 19kgs; 17. T Monteiro (SEAT), 12kgs; 18. T Coronel (SEAT), 10kgs; 19. J Thompson (Honda), 3kgs; 20. O Tielemans (BMW), 1kg.
ESTORIL WTCC ON TV
In Europe, the races will be broadcasted live on Eurosport International.
CHEVROLET WTCC INSIGHT ON THE WEB
Throughout the 2008 European season, Chevrolet WTCC Insight will show you the behind-the-scenes of the Chevrolet WTCC racing team. On Saturdays and Sundays, media and fans alike will get the latest information and can ask their questions via the web in Chevrolet's own web cast. The web address is www.chevrolet-insight.com. First airings will be at 8.30pm local time (2.30pm Detroit time, 3.30am Seoul time), after which the 10-minute programme can be viewed any time. This year's programmes can also be brought to you as podcasts via the same website. An archive with all the 2007 and 2008 Chevrolet Insight features is available and video reports which can be downloaded as high-resolution broadcast files.
CHEVROLET RACING AROUND THE GLOBE
In Denmark, Chevrolet Lacetti driver, Henrik Lundgaard is closing in on the lead of the championship and team mate Michael Outzen is fourth in the standings. The two, in reverse order (Outzen-Lundgaard), took a resounding double victory in Padborg Park last week-end. More information can be found on www.chevroletmotorsportdanmark.dk.
In the US, after 16 of 36 races, Chevrolet drivers, Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are closing in on championship leader Kyle Busch. With 20 races still to be run everything is still wide open. More information can be found on www.nascar.com.
In Argentina, Chevrolet driver, Christian Ledesma has moved up two paces in the standings to sixth overall. He finished sixth in San Juan. Nine races remain on the calendar. More information can be found on www.tc2000.com.ar.
In the UK, Chevrolet Lacetti, driver Harry Vaulkhard, who scored two 13th places and an 11th place at the last BTCC round at Croft, enjoys a summer break before the series resumes this weekend at Snetterton. Vaulkhard is 19th in the championship standings. More information can be found on www.btcc.net.
In Sweden, Chevrolet Lacetti driver, Tomas Schie has moved up to fifth in the standings after finishing a superb second on the new Goteborg street track, laid out on an old pier in the harbour. More information can be found on www.stcc.se.
Off track, Eric Vigouroux and Alexandre Winocq and their privately-run Chevrolet Chevrolet Pro-Tuck achieved another great result, this time in the Transorientale, the marathon rally-raid that crossed Asia. They reached Beijing in 13th position overall and with two stage wins under their belt.