ROUNDS 1 & 2 - CURITIBA
CHEVROLET OPENS WTCC TURBO ERA WITH TWO WINS
The Chevrolet team opened the turbo era in WTCC in style at Curitiba that also meant a great start to the season in which they aim to defend their world titles.
After setting pole position, Rob Huff scored a lights to flag win in the first race, with team-mates Yvan Muller and Carlos Bueno in tow. After finishing third in last year's championship the young Englishman is now set to be the one of the most serious pretenders to WTCC throne.
Alain Menu won the second race after an exciting fight with Tom Coronel. His victory was not quite expected after he qualified yesterday in a disappointed 11th position. But this time Lady Luck decided to help, promoting him to the pole position in Race 2 following the exclusion of his fellow countryman Fredy Barth.
Huff leaves Brazil as the leader of the championship, closely followed by Menu and Muller.
A double success of the Cruze cars powered by the new 1.6L engine was easy to be predicted, especially after the RML crew had worked so hard in development and testing. However, Coronel showed that the BMW 320 TC has not a big gap to fill. As a matter of fact the Dutchman was very close to create a surprise and win the second race.
The fight between Chevrolet and BMW is set to draw the attention in the first part of the season, at least until the SEAT and Volvo cars will also switch to the new engine.
If the drivers of the SEAT TDi were not far away from the pace of the winners (especially Gabriele Tarquini, Tiago Monteiro and Michel Nykjær), Robert Dahlgren and his Volvo suffered from the altitude that penalises the normally aspirated engines and also from a clutch failure.
In the Yokohama Trophy, Kristian Poulsen took the lead despite an accident in the second race that marked the first victory for the Spanish rookie Javier Villa who was able to master his BMW car despite the total lack of testing until Saturday morning.
His even younger compatriot Pepe Oriola was also able to shine and is now leading the new Jay-Ten Trophy.
The championship will resume at Zolder, Belgium, on April 24th for rounds 3 and 4.
-source: fia wtcc