SHANGHAI - The World Touring Car Championship today took to the track of the Shanghai International Circuit for the first time, as the F1 track hosts the penultimate round of the 2012 season.
In cloudy but dry conditions, the Cruzes took the first two spots in the rankings, with Alex MacDowall performing extremely well and setting the fastest time of the session at the wheel of the Bamboo Engineering car.
Yvan Muller was 6th fastest, ahead of the other Bamboo car of Darryl O’Young in 8th with Alain Menu in 11th. Colin Turkington in the WSR Cruze finished a very creditable 5th.
Today was mainly a first working session, aimed at discovering the 4.6 km variant of the F1 track used by the WTCC and starting the work on the set-up of the cars. The Cruzes proved competitive and drivers and engineers collected very useful data to further fine-tune all parameters.
Tomorrow’s qualifying will be key to determining the positions on the grid for Sunday’s race, which will see the three Chevrolet drivers continue their battle for the Drivers’ championship.
At the moment, Yvan Muller and Rob Huff lead the standings, with an equal number of points -345- and Alain Menu is third, with 307. The title will be decided, whatever the outcome in Shanghai, at the final round of the season in Macau.
Chevrolet mathematically secured its third consecutive Manufacturers’ title in Suzuka two weeks ago.
Rob Huff (2nd): “I’m pleased with the session and with the balance of the car, although we did not follow the initial work programme. We did not put new tires on at the end of the session, as we normally do.
The track was quite slippery and there was a lot of traffic, but eventually I could do a good lap time. The circuit is fantastic: very interesting from a driving perspective and incredible facilities, I am really happy to be here.”
Yvan Muller (6th): “It was a good start of the weekend, and I spent the session doing a full race run. I really wanted to check everything in race conditions, and I am happy with the result.
We still have to work on the set-up, but the base from where we start seems OK.”
Alain Menu (11th): “Today there was really very low grip on the track, so there was no point in putting on new tires or trying to do a lap time. I worked on the set-up and still have some understeering to correct.
I hope the track will get better and faster tomorrow morning. I found the circuit not that exciting. Except for the first one, the corners are slower than I thought.”
Source: Chevrolet WTCC Racing