SHANGHAI - Chevrolet finished the weekend in China with a fantastic team result, taking a double and triple win in Shanghai in two action-packed races with all still to play for in the Drivers’ championship.
Ahead of the last and decisive round of the WTCC in Macau in two weeks, Rob Huff climbed to the top of the standings on 390 points, ahead of Chevrolet teammates Alain Menu (355) and Yvan Muller (349).
The three drivers are the only ones remaining with a chance to clinch the Drivers’ crown.
The Frenchman later received a 30-second penalty, dropping to 13th and concluding the weekend without scoring points.
Race 1 started with Menu keeping the pole advantage ahead of his team mates but Muller was left reeling after a melee in turn 2 forced him to the pits and out of the race with damage to the right rear wheel.
Huff sat comfortably behind Menu for the duration of the race and both avoided the battles going on behind them which saw many of the field with damage at the flag.
In Race 2, despite their less favorable positions on the grid, the three RML-run Cruzes had an excellent start, taking the lead of the race after a few laps.
Menu was heading to another win when contact with Muller in a close braking allowed Huff to take the lead, dropping the Swiss to 3rd place.
Muller, who had climbed to second, gave back the position but passed Menu again for 2nd position in the closing laps. The post-race penalty made him dropped to P13 while Menu climbed to 2nd.
The WTCC is now heading to Macau for the traditional street circuit in the former Portuguese enclave that brings the curtains down on the WTCC calendar.
The two races will determine which Chevrolet driver will be crowed 2012 World Champion driver.
Chevrolet has already won the Manufacturers’ title. Sunday’s race saw the lead at the top extended further, with Chevrolet on 930 points, BMW in 2nd place on 602 points and SEAT in 3rd on 569.
Rob Huff (2nd / 1st): “This was a fantastic weekend for the team and a fantastic weekend for me. A 2nd and 1st is just what I needed. It’s much more than I could dream of this morning when I woke up.
“Race 1 was pretty lean. I took second position at the start and maintained it until the end, while in Race 2, I had a pretty scary moment when the lights went off for the start.
My clutch got stuck and I almost stalled, but I quickly found the right pace again after a couple of corners. I overtook Yvan and Alain when they made contact.
“I now have a 23-point lead in the championship going to Macau, which is really what I had hoped for. Macau is a place where I’ve always been quite competitive, so I feel very encouraged.”
Alain Menu (1st / 2nd): “Race 1 was perfect. I kept my teammates at bay at the start and first corner, and then controlled the remainder of the race.
With Yvan out of the race, I reduced the gap in the championship considerably.
“Race 2 was a different story. I was leading comfortably until Yvan made contact with me, The only thing I can say at this stage is that unfortunately, my chances for the championship ahead of Macau have been significantly reduced.”
Yvan Muller (DNF / 13th): “I cannot say this was a good weekend.
Firstly, I lost the leadership in the championship to Rob and now find myself 23 points behind him, “In Race 1, I was touched from behind by Michelisz and went sideways before being knocked about by many other cars as chaos reigned in the group behind me.
Unfortunately, my right rear wheel was damaged and my race ended there. “In Race 2, I was right behind Alain when we made contact in a braking zone. I am really sorry as it wasn’t intentional.”
“We now go to Macau with a completely different situation. We’ll see what happens.”
Ron Hartvelt (WTCC Project Manager): “Another great result for the team, with a double and a triple win. We could not ask for more.
There are some mixed feelings because of what happened between Yvan and Alain; it’s unfortunate, but these things happen, especially when you have three great drivers fighting for a world crown.
We’ll talk it over with the drivers and I am sure that everything will calm down in the next few hours.”
Source: RML Group