Brands Hatch: RML race one, two report

Fourth win for Alain whilst Rob takes a third A peerless performance from Alain Menu at Brands Hatch saw him take his fourth win in the 2007 World Touring Car Championship, and RML Chevrolet's sixth of the season. In the autumnal sunshine he...

Fourth win for Alain whilst Rob takes a third

A peerless performance from Alain Menu at Brands Hatch saw him take his fourth win in the 2007 World Touring Car Championship, and RML Chevrolet's sixth of the season.

In the autumnal sunshine he dominated race one, stamping his authority to take a lights- to-flag victory with James Thompson unable to find a way past. Unfortunately his charge through the field in race two was stalled when he was black flagged for pulling alongside Augusto Farfus before the start line at the end of an early safety car period.

Alain's success in race one ensured the first repeat win at a circuit in the World Touring Car Championship for RML Chevrolet, following his historic victory in the torrential rain at Brands in 2006.

Racing at his 'home' track, Rob Huff put in a measured drive for sixth place in race one and was able to capitalise on his starting position for the second race, and secured a fine third place and a well-deserved visit to the podium in front of his British supporters.

Nicola Larini was the innocent victim of other people's mistakes in both races, as he was barged into the gravel at Paddock Hill bend by a BMW in the opening lap of the first, before being tagged by a spinning SEAT early on in the second. Whilst he was forced into an extremely premature retirement in the former, he was able to battle valiantly on in the latter, and made his way back through the field for 12th place at the chequered flag.

Alain said: "What a season! It's fantastic, fourth pole, fourth win, I'm really happy for myself and the team who have put in all the hard work. It's also great to score Chevrolet's first repeat win.

"The race was a tough one, but I knew that if I could lead the first lap there was a good chance I could keep James (Thompson) behind me for the rest of the race. James had the faster car today, but it's one thing having the faster car and quite another being able to overtake the guy in front of you. I pushed for the whole race, but only as much as I had to. There was no need to try to go faster because I'd ruin the front tyres.

"In the second race I unfortunately didn't score points since I was disqualified. At the restart after the first-lap incident, Augusto (Farfus) seemed to be unaware the safety car had pulled in and was still going slow while I was already accelerating for the green. Only when I was alongside him did he realize the race was back on again, but by then contact was unavoidable. The stewards then disqualified me for pulling up alongside a competitor before the start line under safety car procedure, which is forbidden by the rules. Now my position in the championship standings allows me to have a mathematical shot at the title again, but realistically I think a top three finish at the end of the year is what we can go for."

Rob said: "Race one was good solid performance, picking up some good points with a car now heavier than I've ever had before. I went as smooth as I could through the corners, as a lot of them are long but tightening at the end, so in a front-wheel-drive car you can ruin your tyres if you steer in to hard. So while I lost some time by being smooth I managed to make up for that by still having good tyres at the end of the race, which is how I managed to pass the SEAT. I tried to drop behind the BMW's for the second race, but second row is actually better than being on the first row. The first row is on the uphill bit of the front straight, but the second row is downhill so the guys in front will struggle to get away.

"In the second race I had a very clean start and immediately managed to tuck in behind Andy (Priaulx) and Felix (Porteiro). I had the speed to stay with them, but not enough to try and make a move. Still, I'm very happy with third!"

Nicola Larini said: "It was just another one of those weekends. In race one, a BMW spun in front of me in the first corner and there was no room to avoid him so I got beached in the sand trap. Starting from the back in the second race obviously gave me no chance to score points, especially since I got involved again in someone else's accident, again on the first lap. The good thing is that for me it can only get better at Monza in two weeks' time."

Eric Nève, motorsport manager for Chevrolet Europe, said: "It's a new feeling to win the same race again for the first time; being given a second `winning manufacturer's' cup with the same race track name on it. Today's win and podium finish are almost the logical continuation of the superb season we've been having so far. It's also very good for Chevrolet to be successful in a competitive environment like the WTCC, which on top is gaining in popularity as could be witnessed by the increasing number of spectators today. Alain's and Rob's races were textbook, but unfortunately Nicola was again the victim of others' mistakes."

-credit: rmlmallock.co.uk

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