ZÜRICH / WELLINGBOROUGH - Chevrolet’s successful participation in the World Touring Car Championship comes to an end in Macau in a weeks’ time with the Manufacturers’ title already wrapped up, but the Driver’s title still undecided.
All eyes will be on the U.S. brand’s three drivers – Rob Huff, Alain Menu and Yvan Muller – who are the only three contenders for the coveted Drivers’ crown.
Macau, the traditional closing event of the WTCC, is a fast track and has rarely been short on surprises. The circuit is a favourite for Huff, who has claimed five of the last eight races.
The 6.117 km urban track of Guia run along the streets of the former Portuguese enclave, known as the world’s gambling capital, is one of the fastest and most challenging in racing, comparable to Monte Carlo in Formula 1.
There are no more surprises to be sprung in the Manufacturers’ championship as Chevrolet has already secured its third consecutive World Champion title in Suzuka.
Chevrolet goes into the last race on 930 points and could break the 1,000-point threshold, something that has never been achieved before by any brand in the WTCC.
There will be no less than seven Chevrolets entered in Macau. Apart from the three RML-run cars and the Cruzes of Bamboo Engineering, driven by Alex MacDowall and Darryl O’Young, China Dragon Racing is entering a Cruze for Macau driver Ng Kin Veng and two Lacettis for local stars Filipe De Souza and Célio Alves Dias.
The final races in Macau will also be an emotional moment for Chevrolet and the team as this will be the last stop before the end of the U.S. brand’s WTCC program, announced last July.
Chevrolet joined the WTCC at its inception eight years ago and has won three Manufacturer’s titles and three Drivers’ titles, two with Muller and the third to be decided in Macau.
Rob Huff: “Macau is definitely my favourite circuit, where I qualified on pole and won races a number of times in recent years. I have a special bond with this track, which is among the most exciting I’ve ever raced on.
“Championship-wise, things look good, but you can never take anything for granted. As Shanghai showed, things can quickly go either way.
I arrived in China tied on points with Yvan and left with a 35-point lead, but things can go the other way round quite easily. I’ll try to stay focused, not make mistakes and stay in front, which is the safest place to be on the Macau circuit.
“I’m not thinking about the title right now; my objective is to end the championship – and Chevrolet’s involvement in the WTCC – in the best possible way.”
Alain Menu: “I am still in a position to fight for the title and will not give up until the very end. But clearly, after Shanghai, the situation favours Rob. Still, Macau is Macau…
“I was obviously disappointed with the outcome of Race 2 in China, but that’s life. I took some time off in between these last two rounds and stayed in Asia to be fit for the grand finale.
“Macau will also mark the end of Chevrolet’s presence in the WTCC. It has been a privilege to be part of this extraordinary venture and wonderful team for eight years, and I think Sunday evening, regardless of the results, will be a very special moment for all of us.”
Yvan Muller: “The last round in Shanghai was clearly a big disappointment for me, but that’s racing. Sometimes things go wrong. Now my chances in the championship are slim, but I will fight until the end.
“I remained in Asia to avoid having to re-adjust to the time difference, food, and so forth. I will be in the best condition possible when getting behind the wheel in Macau and I look forward to an exciting end of the championship.”
Ron Hartvelt, Project Manager RML: “Shanghai was a success for the team, but also frustrating because of the incident in Race 2 between Yvan and Alain.
These things happen, especially when you have three great and competitive drivers fighting for a World Championship title.
“It’s clearly a pity when it happens and it hindered the chances of two of our drivers. I feel sorry for Alain, who has really been excellent in the last three rounds.
“Still, the three are still in contention for the title and there are no bad feelings among them, so I believe we are off to a really exciting weekend in Macau.
“The cars will arrive over the weekend. There was no major damage in China and we had time to work on them after the race in Shanghai.”
Chevrolet WTCC Racing