Chevrolet Cruze Shows Good Pace In Unlucky Debut
The Race of Brazil that opens the World Touring Car Championship once again did not bring luck to the Chevrolet team, as a number of race circumstances prevented the team to score points in Curitiba, but the good news is that the new Chevrolet Cruze showed good pace and excellent potential throughout the week-end.
Nicola Larini finished an excellent fifth in Race 1, but he subsequently lost the position and the points after the race when the Stewards inflicted him an arguable penalty of 30 seconds for not keeping his line during the restart phase after a period under safety-car along with 4 other competitors. Alain Menu was the innocent victim of the Curitiba first lap contact and Rob Huff was stopped by a broken throttle cable.
In Race 2, on a rain soaked track, the three Cruzes showed excellent pace (Alain Menu scored the fastest lap of the race) but having to start at the back of the grid, and having driven well through the grid, they could not finish beyond the 11th, 13th and 15th position.
Alain Menu (Ret / 11th): «It is a frustrating result because we deserved much better, but this is racing. In Race 1, I hadn't the start that I wanted and when we got to turn 4, Monteiro hit me, causing a pile- up also involving Jörg Müller and Priaulx. My race ended there and the bodywork of the car got damaged. Despite that, in Race 2, the car was very good and got better lap after lap, allowing me to finish 11th and recording the fastest lap at the end of the race".
Rob Huff (Ret / 13th ): "It must be written somewhere that Curitiba is jinxed for us! In Race 1, I managed to avoid trouble in the initial laps and was aiming at some points, when the throttle stopped to function. In Race 2, starting from the back and with a wet track, we worked hard to move forward and made the best progress possible".
Nicola Larini (15th / 15th): "I am really infuriated for the sanction after Race 1. I did a great race: at the start, I stayed on the right side of the track, where I knew there would be less problems, and got clear of the incident that stopped Alain. The car was really good in the fast corners, I kept the 7th position without any trouble and then managed to gain two positions, to finish fifth, a very good result for the Cruze's first race. I do not understand the penalty I got for the restart, as Monteiro was extremely slow and Farfus and I could only pull over to avoid contact. In Race 2, I struggled as I had a set-up for dry conditions".
Mark Busfield: "It has been a difficult start to our season, and on a positive note the new Cruze proved that in Race 1 in the hands of Nicola, the car was the fastest non-diesel car. In Race 2, our days of wet winter testing came to fruition with Alain posting the fastest lap of the race. It's good to see the car is as competitive as the BMW, and we all need to work to get on SEAT's pace".