Macau: RML race notes

HUFF (9th) AND MENU (10th) BRING HOME TWO FINISHES Bad luck until the end in Macau, as the three Chevrolets are involved in accidents MACAU - It was written somewhere that this was not going to be Chevrolet's year in Macau. Despite showing an ...

HUFF (9th) AND MENU (10th) BRING HOME TWO FINISHES
Bad luck until the end in Macau, as the three Chevrolets are involved in accidents

MACAU - It was written somewhere that this was not going to be Chevrolet's year in Macau. Despite showing an impressive level of competitiveness, the three Lacettis paid a very high tribute to external factors in qualifying and again today, in the two races that concluded the season. All three drivers suffered serious accidents. Nevertheless, and despite their positions at the back of the grid, all three demonstrated how fast the Lacettis are in Macau. Huff (9th in the first race) and Menu (10th in Race 2) still managed to bring home two good finishes. The last two races of the season where again rich in incidents, as always in the streets of the Chinese capital of gambling, and proclaimed Andy Priaulx and BMW as 2006 WTCC Champions.

Menu and Larini managed to pass unscathed through the collective accident initiated by Giovanardi and Magnussen at the Lisboa corner (almost a repetition of what happened last year) and even managed to gain some positions, running eighth and tenth respectively in the initial laps. Despite losing the bumper after he was hit by Thompson in lap 2, Menu was pretty fast, setting twice the fastest lap of the race. Unfortunately, two laps from the end, he hit the barriers in the Guia section. "It's a real pity", commented the Swiss driver, "I was running alone, the car was ok, eighth place and the pole in the second race were secured. The only trouble I was having was with the gearbox when passing from fourth to third. At some point, in a braking, I could not put the gear in, driving power and could not avoid crashing".

One lap earlier, Larini's race had also ended brutally against a barrier. "I had been trying to pass Thompson for a number of laps", explained the Italian, "I was much quicker but he was swinging across the track not to let me go. Eventually I managed to overtake him in the straight, but he hit me twice at the braking point, sending me slightly into the guard-rail. I managed to escape but something had been damaged and I lost a rear wheel two corners later". The car could not be repaired for Race 2.

Rob Huff had a worse start of the race as he was trapped in the pile-up at first corner. When he could free himself and rejoin the race, he managed to run a brilliant and relatively quiet race, passing Couto, Gene and Thompson and finishing ninth. "The car was good, I was able to pull away easily and maintain a good pace. It's a real pity to have lost over 20 seconds in the jam at the beginning. I was really stuck bumper-to-bumper between two cars and could only wait. Otherwise, I could have finished eighth easily and this would have changed everything for Race 2".

Unfortunately, the second race was going to be pretty short for the Englishman. He took an excellent start, was not involved in the incident that occurred again in the Lisboa corner, but was an innocent victim of Tarquini's crash in the Solidão esses: "Tarquini went off just in front of me, crashing massively on the right and then on the left. There was no space to go as there were debris and liquids all over the place. I stood up on the brakes but the wheels blocked and lost control of the car on the oil, hitting the wall as well". ./.. Menu, who started from the pits, was 14th after the safety-car period, managed to gain some positions with a car which was obviously not "perfectly straight" after the crash in Race 1 and finished tenth.

Eric Neve, Chevrolet Europe Motorsport Manager, commented: "First of all, I would like to congratulate BMW and Andy Priaulx for their third consecutive success in both championships. It's an impressive result, given the level of competitiveness that the WTCC has achieved. For us, it has been a frustrating week-end concluding a very good season. Two victories and five finishes in the podium are the proof that we have grown tremendously as a team. Especially in the second part of the season, when competitors had higher success ballast, we have demonstrated that we are now among the front runners everywhere and a potential winner at every race. I want to thank everybody in the team for that. We will continue working hard on the development of the Lacetti all winter to be even more competitive next year and continue bringing emotion to the Chevrolet brand".

-credit: rml

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Rob Huff