Puebla: Chevrolet preview

CHEVROLET WANTS TO SCORE MAXIMUM POINTS IN MEXICO Larini, Huff, Menu Looking Forward To Kick-Start Their Championship Bid Round 2 of the 2008 World Touring Car Championship takes place in Puebla, Mexico. This is the second of the early season...

CHEVROLET WANTS TO SCORE MAXIMUM POINTS IN MEXICO

Larini, Huff, Menu Looking Forward To Kick-Start Their Championship Bid

Round 2 of the 2008 World Touring Car Championship takes place in Puebla, Mexico. This is the second of the early season `fly-away' events before the WTCC circus makes an eight-stop tour across Europe over the next six months.

After a one-year absence, Mexico rejoins the touring car calendar, with the "Autodromo Miguel E Abed Amozoc" having the distinction of being the `highest' track visited this year. At 2304 metres above sea level, the normally aspirated engines like the Chevrolet Lacetti's will lose some 20% in horsepower due to the thin air, but Nicola Larini, Rob Huff and Alain Menu will do everything they can to mark their first points of the season. The extensive testing programme, which saw the team running in Spain last week, has made sure that Chevrolet's trio have the best equipment possible at their disposal and all three drivers are keen to win the non-turbo battle and chalk up their first points of the season.

Nicola Larini: "I struggle to make a prediction for the Puebla race. A couple of the turbo diesels already have some significant success ballast, but you still have three with almost no extra weight, so it is going to be hard to beat them. On the other hand, and although the results do not show this, the first two races proved that we are competitive, so I am confident that we can fight for a podium position in the second race thanks to the reversed grid. The recent tests I did in Guadix just confirmed my conviction that we have been working in the right direction all through the winter break. But we will not have a correct picture of what this season will look like until we are back to Europe, with Valencia being the first race with a real level ground for everybody."

Rob Huff: "Mexico will be our toughest race, but the pace of the chassis has always been good there before. The three of us will just have to capitalize on the fact that none of us is carrying any ballast weight. So hopefully we can finish where we deserved to finish in Brazil since the pace we had in Curitiba was very good; as we proved before we got wiped out in the first race. In fact the pace was actually better than we anticipated, so this time we might come away with some good points. We'll just have to put our best foot forward."

Alain Menu: "I think that we could go home with a podium finish in the bag. The least we have to go for is to score enough points to balance the fact that we didn't score any in Brazil. We showed last time that the Lacetti is capable of running at the front, so we have just have to steer clear of trouble."

Mark Busfield: "Immediately after the Brazilian races had finished we brought in a team of local specialists to assist the team to repair and repaint the body panels of the cars, some of which had been quite extensively damaged in qualifying and the races. The cars were then put in containers and shipped to Mexico. Back at base we continued our test programme with the designated test car. At the Guadix track in Spain, Nicola spent two days working on improving the chassis performance as well as fine tuning other car areas. Some prototype parts were also evaluated."

Eric Nève: "If Lady Luck can smile on us in Mexico, we should be able to launch our 2008 campaign there. In Brazil we already proved that the Chevrolet Lacetti was quick and consistent, so if our drivers are allowed to race this time and not taken off by others we should be in a position to score some valuable points. The issues we have had at the Puebla track in 2005 and '06 seem to have been solved successfully, since a 24-hour race has been organized there recently without any problems. We will therefore be able to fully concentrate on racing and enjoy the fiesta which is always part and parcel of motorsports in Mexico. As in the past, `GM do Mexico' will host our drivers at their headquarters upon their arrival, while the dealers in the Puebla area will make sure that the event is once again a sell-out. As for the drivers parade through the city centre, well, it just proves that Mexicans have motor oil in their veins!"

-credit: chevroleteurope.com

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Rob Huff , Nicola Larini , Alain Menu