SUZUKA, 21 October 2012: Chevrolet celebrated its third consecutive Manufacturers’ title victory in the best possible way by taking another 1-2-3 win in Race 1 in Suzuka today.
All three Chevrolet drivers finished Race 2 in the points, with the results of the first leg of the WTCC Asian tour seeing Yvan Muller and Rob Huff still heading the Drivers’ standings on equal points – 345 – and Alain Menu gaining 10 points on his teammates to climb to 307.
In Race 1, pole-sitter Menu took his fourth win of the year after a flawless race from flag to flag. He was followed by Muller and Huff who came in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The RML-run Cruzes started Race 2 from rows 4 and 5 on the grid, but still managed to gain positions at a circuit traditionally known to be challenging for overtaking. Huff, Menu and Muller finished the race in 4th, 5th and 6th.
The Chevrolet hat-trick on the podium in Race 1 was complemented by Alex MacDowall, who came in 5th overall but claimed top spot among the independent racers at the wheel of a Bamboo Engineering Cruze.
With the Manufacturers’ championship decided, all the attention is focused on the exciting battle for the Drivers’ crown, which has become a private affair between the Chevrolet drivers, the only ones still in the race for the title.
The final two rounds of the 2012 WTCC season, in China and Macau, promise to be extremely closely-fought battle between the three Chevrolet drivers.
Alain Menu (1st / 5th): “It was definitely a good weekend for me with a repeat of last year’s victory. Additionally, I leave Suzuka in a better position in the championship. I am still very much in contention for the Drivers’ title as I reduced the gap from Yvan and Rob by 10 points. It is really unfortunate that I had that setback in Sonoma as I would be much closer to them.
“Race 1 did not seem to be very eventful, but it was not easy. I started well and stayed ahead of everyone, but I had to stay extremely focused to keep my lead and avoid making mistakes, which is something that can easily happen on this track.
“Yvan and Rob were very close behind, so I couldn’t afford the slightest error. On top of that, I tried to be extremely careful with the front tires. Eventually everything went well.
“In Race 2, I also had a good start and was able to overtake Yvan and end up in 5th position.”
Yvan Muller (2nd / 6th): “I’m very happy with the way the weekend went, even though I did not have spectacular results. It was perfect for Chevrolet as we secured the Manufacturers’ title and claimed another 1-2-3.
“In Race 1, the only key moment was the start. I managed to keep Rob behind at the first corner and secure at the second. In Race 2, the three of us climbed some positions, which is fine considering that it is difficult to do much more on a track like this.
“It’s still a perfect status quo at the top of the championship. That’s fine with me and makes the final two rounds even more exciting.”
Rob Huff (3rd / 4th): “A fantastic weekend for the team and an unchanged situation in the Drivers’ standings. Yvan and I are still on perfectly equal footing on points.
“Race 1 results reflected qualifying with none of us making any mistakes. In Race 2, I had a good start and kept Yvan behind me. I didn’t push very hard as I didn’t want to take any risks. The only interesting moment was when I overtook Bennani – I saw the opportunity and went for it.”
Stuart Cowie (Operations Manager): “We are very pleased with the weekend. We mathematically made certain of the Constructors’ championship, took another triple podium and collected six finishes in the points. We couldn’t ask for more.
“I‘m happy the three cars finished the weekend unscathed, which is important ahead of the following events. This is made even more important when you are so far from home and when you have your three drivers fighting for the Drivers’ title. They are managing this situation in the most professional way and I want to congratulate them for that.”
SUZUKA RACE 1 RESULTS (26 laps)
1. A Menu Chevrolet Cruze 23m44s880
2. Y Muller Chevrolet Cruze + 0s812
3. R Huff Chevrolet Cruze + 1s419
4. G Tarquini SEAT León WTCC +13s828
5. A MacDowall Chevrolet Cruze +14s273
13. D O’Young Chevrolet Cruze +23s724
SUZUKA RACE 2 RESULTS (26 laps)
1. S D’Aste BMW 320TC 23m54s717
2. P Oriola SEAT León WTCC + 2s562
3. G Tarquini SEAT León WTCC + 2s845
4. R Huff Chevrolet Cruze + 3s774
5. A Menu Chevrolet Cruze + 4s220
6. Y Muller Chevrolet Cruze + 4s568
9. A MacDowall Chevrolet Cruze + 7s707
13. D O’Young Chevrolet Cruze +18s945
WTCC DRIVERS STANDINGS AFTER RACE 20 OF 24
1. Muller (Chevrolet), Huff (Chevrolet), 345; 3. Menu (Chevrolet), 307; 4. Tarquini (SEAT), 220; 5. Coronel (BMW), 170; … 9. MacDowall (Chevrolet), 66; … 15. Nykjær (Chevrolet), 20; … 17. Rydell (Chevrolet), 14
WTCC MANUFACTURERS STANDINGS AFTER RACE 20 OF 24
1. Chevrolet, 835 points; 2. BMW, 543; 3. SEAT, 532.
NEXT RACE: Round 11, Race of China, Shanghai, 2-4 November 2012