Okayama: Chevrolet preview

AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH: HUFF CONTINUES TITLE CHASE IN JAPAN WTCC Visits Okayama Mountain Track For First Time ZURICH / WELLINGBOROUGH, 17th October 2008 The 2008 World Touring Car Championship is entering its final phase, with the last...


WTCC Visits Okayama Mountain Track For First Time

ZURICH / WELLINGBOROUGH, 17th October 2008 The 2008 World Touring Car Championship is entering its final phase, with the last four rounds being run in the Far East. The first of the two Asian stops is in Okayama in southern Japan, where the WTCC will showcase real cars and real racing on the former Formula 1 track, set in the mountains of the Okayama Prefecture.

At this stage in the championship, the success ballast of the frontrunners no longer plays a significant role, as all the title candidates are now running on or near the maximum weight of 70 kilograms. This, of course, is good news for Rob Huff, who is currently third in the Drivers standings.

Alain Menu is the lightest of the top drivers and will be keen to win again on a new track as he did on three occasions last year. Fourth Chevrolet man Max Orido will be driving at his home track and will try hard to become the first ever Japanese driver to score points in the FIA World Touring Car Championship.


Rob Huff: "We came away with a third place in the championship after Monza, which is better than I could have hoped for considering I retired from one of the races with a puncture. So my mission for Okayama will be to try and take enough points for second place in the standings. At Chevrolet the motto is never to give up, and I am certainly up for the battle. Hopefully between Nic, Alain and myself we can keep up the tradition of a Chevrolet winning at new race tracks. For sure the altitude of the track will affect our engines a bit as it did in Mexico and Brazil, but we have a strong car, a strong team and a strong season so far, so there is no way we will be going for anything less than the top spot."

Nicola Larini: "I like going back to the Okayama track where I raced in Formula 1 back in 1994. I think I'm possibly the only current WTCC driver to have raced there before, other than the Japanese of course. It's quite technical, just the way our Chevrolet Lacetti likes it. I am of course running heavier than I have done so far this season, so my main aim will be to be consistent and still score points in both races. The key at Okayama is to look after your car, as the tight corners are hard on the brakes, especially the hairpin at the end of the back straight. Since the track is rather short, we have to run many more laps than usual. So during the race the head will have to work as hard as the feet."

Alain Menu: "I'm quite looking forward to discovering a new track again, and I hope to score some good results there. I watched some race footage on YouTube, and from what I have seen the corners are mainly of the tight variety, which is good for me since I'm running very light. Qualifying will thus be crucial."

Manabu Orido: "My races in Monza were very successful in that I managed to learn a lot on the car and how the tyres and set-up worked. Naturally I am very much looking forward to racing on one of my home tracks. The Okayama International Circuit has a bit of everything, with two relatively long straights making up over one third of the length of the track a few fast sweepers, a tight hairpin and a technical `infield'. I'm sure the racing will be exciting and I will try to assist the other Chevrolet drivers where I can. At the same time I will aim at finishing first of the Japanese drivers as I did in Monza, and maybe take home a world championship point. "


In Europe, qualifying and the race will be broadcasted live on Eurosport International.


In Denmark, Chevrolet Lacetti drivers, Henrik Lundgaard and Michael Outzen finished in second and third place in the final standings of the 2008 Danish Touring Car Championship. Fellow Dane Michael Nykjaer will use one of the team's Chevrolet Lacettis to defend his European Touring Car title at the Salzburgring this weekend.

In the US, Chevrolet driver and reigning NASCAR Champion, Jimmie Johnson, is now on course for a third consecutive title with five races remaining on the 36-race schedule. Fellow Chevrolet driver Jeff Burton is now second.

In Argentina, Chevrolet driver, Christian Ledesma finished second at the Viedma circuit and has moved up to fourth in the standings. With three races still to be run in the TC2000 championship, Ledesma is just 30 points behind the leaders, with a maximum of 27 to be won at each event.

In Sweden, Chevrolet Lacetti driver, Tomas Schie finished the season in seventh after scoring a fifth-place finish in the season's finale at Mantorp Park.

-credit: chevroleteurope.com

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Jeff Burton , Henrik Lundgaard , Manabu Orido , Rob Huff , Nicola Larini , Christian Ledesma , Alain Menu