THE CRUZE READY TO SHINE IN MOROCCAN HISTORIC EVENT Marrakech Street Circuit To Host First-Ever WTCC Races In Africa WELLINGBOUROUGH / ZURICH, 24th April 2009 The World Touring Car Championship is bound to live as historic event, as it heads...
THE CRUZE READY TO SHINE IN MOROCCAN HISTORIC EVENT
Marrakech Street Circuit To Host First-Ever WTCC Races In Africa
WELLINGBOUROUGH / ZURICH, 24th April 2009 The World Touring Car Championship is bound to live as historic event, as it heads to Marrakech, Morocco for the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2009 season. This will be not only the first WTCC race in Africa, but the first FIA track competition on African soil since the demise of the South African F.1 Grand Prix in 1993. Marrakech, the imperial city nested at the feet of the Atlas mountains and known worldwide for its rich cultural heritage and warm hospitality, is hosting the Race of Morocco in a brand new 4.624 km street circuit built for the purpose.
The Chevrolet team, which has an excellent result record in urban tracks, is obviously hopeful to do well in this venue that will be new to every participant. Since its debut in South America, the new Cruze has undergone intensive testing and development work, conducted mainly in Jerez and Pembrey. The team will be testing again in Donington this coming Tuesday, while the team's trucks are en route to North Africa. The Marrakech race will also see the introduction of the new compensation weights table decided by the FIA, which means the Cruze will drop 20 kgs, while the championship's current top contenders will add 40 kgs.
Nicola Larini: "The circuit is a big question mark for everybody, so it is difficult to make any prediction. Looking at the track map, we can expect a pretty slow circuit, with sharp corners and a succession of accelerations and braking. What I am sure of is that we have made progress with the set-up of the Cruze and that we can do better than in the two first races of the season".
Rob Huff: "I am excited at the prospect of racing in a brand new track and in a country where the WTCC has never ventured into before. I am also happy to be again in a street circuit, a type of track which has always brought much success to Chevrolet. The two days of testing that I have done in Pembrey last week were extremely fruitful: we had an incredible amount of track time and I think we have done significant progress in trying to correct the under-steering of the car. So, I hope that just as it happened last year, this third event of the season will mark the real start of my championship".
Alain Menu: "I was pleased with the outcome of my two-day test in Jerez and I think that the loss of our weight, the new flat under floor and the work done on the set up and balance of the car should bring us forward in terms of performance and positions in the hierarchy. Still, the truth is that Marrakech track is unknown to everybody and that we will have to wait until Friday's first test to see to whom the track suits better. There seems to be a lot of 1st and 2nd gear corners, so ability to transfer power to the wheels will be crucial. Also key will be the height and the design of the kerbs, as it can influence significantly the kind of line we will be able to take".
./.. Mark Busfield: "This time, the circuit is new for everyone, there is no data and no TV footage, and our competitors will have less of an advantage in terms of information from previous years. So, we should be on an equal footing compared to the Curitiba and Puebla races, although there are still many variables that we will discover only once we are there, as to the quality of the surface or the possible influence of the wind and sand, for instance. Our drivers will arrive on Wednesday and have plenty of time to discover the track, by foot and bikes. On the positive side there are also the new weights, and the new flat floor which should help us improving the aerodynamics of the Cruze and the development work we have done on the suspensions, the balance and the set-up. The team has worked continually over the last five weeks and we hope that will pay off".