CHEVROLET CONTINUES PODIUM FINISH STREAK
Chevrolet driver, Nicola Larini joined his team mates as a WTCC podium finisher by finishing third in the second of the Istanbul races, today. It is Chevrolet's fourth podium finish (of which two wins) this season, clearly confirming Chevrolet's target to become a podium contender at every round.
Things did not go all that well in the first race, however. Both Rob Huff and Alain Menu ran into the same competitor at different stages and for different reasons, but the result was the same with Huff finishing a distant 15th and Menu retiring. "I went inside of Rangoni to overtake him but he just wouldn't have any of it," Huff said. "He leaned on me so I gave him some room, but when he turned in he just chopped me, although I had the corner and clearly the quicker car as well. That hit disturbed the toe-in on the front right, which in turn made it difficult to turn in properly."
Later in the race, Alain Menu also ran into Rangoni, but this time the Italian driver was the victim. "My car was understeering, making it very twitchy under braking," Menu said. "On top of that I had a spongy brake pedal, so when I tried to pass on the inside I unintentionally hit him. I tried to scrub some speed off by going over the kerb but I still hit him like a hammer. The damage to my car meant I couldn't but retire from race 1."
Nicola Larini, who just like last year in Istanbul had qualified fastest Chevrolet, drove a strategically clever race by running in sixth for a long time before dropping back to seventh, guaranteeing him a first row slot on the grid for race 2.
Race 2, however, would not start until three hours later as a rain storm flooded part of the track. On a wet and darkening Istanbul Park track, Larini made a blitz-start and led from the first corner. But a daring pass by a competitor saw both cars touch, bending Nicola's right steering arm. "From then on it became increasingly difficult to keep the car on the track. But I could smell my first podium and no matter how the guys behind me tried, it was unconceivable that I would let them pass me. All I have to do now is join my team mates in the WTCC Winners Circle."
Rob Huff drove his now customary stellar race in the rain, starting in 15th and moving up to sixth by the finish. "A couple of cars went off in front off me on the first two laps, so that helped. Apart from that I had a very good car, although the fuel pressure sometimes fell away in certain corners."
Alain Menu ended the second race in the same way he ended the first: in the pitlane. "I had an excellent first lap, passing six or seven cars, including Rob. Then, at the start of the second lap, someone hit me from behind and that was it. I'm sure that without that incident I could have finished well in front, maybe even on the podium. It's a pity, but we know what we are worth and there are still four races to prove we can be regular podium finishers."
The next round of the WTCC takes place on October 8th in Valencia, Spain.
-credit: gm racing