TWO CRUZES IN THE TOP TEN IN THE SEASON'S FIRST STARTING GRID Menu 8th and Larini 9th With Exactly The Same Lap Time, Huff 13th After Incident CURITIBA, 7th March 2009 The Chevrolet Cruze will start its racing career in the WTCC tomorrow with...
TWO CRUZES IN THE TOP TEN IN THE SEASON'S FIRST STARTING GRID
Menu 8th and Larini 9th With Exactly The Same Lap Time, Huff 13th After Incident
CURITIBA, 7th March 2009 The Chevrolet Cruze will start its racing career in the WTCC tomorrow with two cars in the top ten positions in the starting grid: Alain Menu was eighth and Nicola Larini ninth, although they scored exactly the same lap time (1m24s831) in the Q2 session. Alain will start from the fourth row and Nicola from the fifth, as the Swiss driver performed his best lap earlier in the session than the Italian. Rob Huff finished 13th in Q1 and did not make it for Q2, as he saw his best attempt for a fast lap spoiled by a slower car.
The WTCC inaugurated today a new qualifying format, similar to the one used in Formula 1, where the ten fastest drivers in the Q1 session (20 minutes) fight for the pole in a 10-minute Q2 session. The Chevrolet team was very pleased with the result and the hard work done today in the two free practice sessions to improve the balance of the new Cruze. Alain Menu even finished second- fastest in Q1, less than two tenths behind the provisional pole.
Alain Menu (8th): "Having two cars in the top ten in the Cruze's first outing is a good result. I still find it hard to extract the best out of the Cruze, we need to know the car better, but I am pleased with today's result. We could have done even better in Q2 but it was hard to find the good slipstream. Eventually, I found some behind one of the BMWs, but the SEATs, with five cars in the track, obviously managed to make the best use of slipstreaming today".
Nicola Larini (9th): "It's a good result for the team. It proves the Cruze is competitive and we are on track with the changes we have made. I still feel the car lacks a little bit of stability in the fast corners, but we will continue to work on that ahead of tomorrow's races".
Rob Huff (13th): "It is a pity to be out of the top ten in Q1, because I really think we had the potential to have the three cars in Q2. I managed to do quite a good time on used tires initially, and on my second attempt, with new tires, I was blocked by the BMW of Hernandez. I had to go on a kerb to pass him and the performance was not in the car after that".
Mark Busfield: "It is a good start for the new Chevrolet Cruze and we are pleased with the result. Although we missed the objective of having the three cars in the top ten, we proved we have the potential to do it. Rob was as competitive as Alain and Nic, and without the little incident he had with a slower car, he should have made it to Q2. In any case, what we have seen today, and especially, Alain's time in Q1 is a very encouraging for the team. Were looking forward to tomorrow when we will realize our race pace, and we plan to stay out of trouble and collect some valuable points to get the season started".