CHEVROLET TEAM BOYANT FOR VALENCIA AFTER STRONG TESTS
Huff And Larini Quick In Germany
The 2008 World Touring Car Championship is finally hitting the European shores with the third round of the series taking place in Valencia, Spain, next weekend. After two events in the Americas, the WTCC now embarks on the old continent for16 races over eight weekends, which will see the Chevrolet Lacettis in action in Spain, France, the Czech Republic, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Germany and exceptionally twice in Italy, since the Swedish round at Anderstorp has been replaced by a second Italian race at Imola. However, the Imola race will – as was the case in 2005 – be run under the “Race of San Marino” moniker.
The five-week break since the Lacetti’s first podium finish of the year in Puebla has been used to further fine-tune the Chevrolet, in both private tests and centrally organized group tests. In the first of those, held at Valencia, Alain Menu set the fastest time of all participants, while Rob Huff did the same on the first day of the second group test in Oschersleben earlier this week. On the second day in Germany, Nicola Larini set the second fastest time. Needless to say that Menu, Huff and Larini, are more than keen to hit the track again in anger in Spain.
QUOTES Nicola Larini: “The two-day test in Oschersleben were extremely fruitful. It was very useful in validating some adjustments we had already explored in Guadix. Nothing major, at this stage of the development of the car you work on little things, but altogether these little things can make an improvement and in a championship as competitive as the WTCC, any improvement is welcome. I am very happy of the work we have done in the last months; we really worked hard and in the right direction. In Oschersleben, I had the fastest lap time until the very end of the session, when I was beaten by a competitor by just a tenth. Lap times do not mean a lot in such tests, as you never know in which configuration the other cars are running, but at least it is a positive sign. We go to Valencia with a confident mindset, although this year it is very difficult to make any predictions. But since we were competitive in Puebla, where the altitude was a clear handicap for us, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be ok on a track like Valencia.”
Rob Huff: “Testing went very well this week and we managed to get through the whole job list we had set ourselves to do. The car is very quick and very easy to drive in the twisty sections, so that bodes very well for quite a number of tracks we will visit later this year. Like Nic and Alain I am of course anxious to get racing again, especially now that we have a car which is probably more competitive than in any of the previous years at this stage. Last year, of course, we came to Europe with a win, so it would be nice to repeat that.”
Alain Menu: “All our tests since our return from Puebla have been very good, although one always has to be careful with comparing times with other competitors as you never know whether they’re hiding their game or not. That said, we should be very competitive in Valencia and a podium finish is definitely on the cards, maybe even more.”
Mark Busfield: “It has been a very busy week, with the test team in action in Germany and the sea freight only returning from Mexico on Tuesday, 6th May. This has given the team has only five days to re-prepare the three race cars and we will shake them down next Monday and leave for Valencia the same day. As always at the first European event of the year we will have an extra test session on Friday. From what we’ve seen at the tests, the fine-tuning of the suspension set-ups is going very well, so we’re really looking forward to go racing again.”
Eric Nève: “We opened our WTCC points account in Mexico with our first podium of the season and we plan on making this kind of result the norm at all the forthcoming races. The recent tests in Spain and Germany prove we’re more competitive than ever and all three drivers are eager to score the first 2008 win for Chevrolet as soon as possible. In Valencia we will also welcome two new manufacturers to the fold which is a clear indication of the importance of the WTCC as a marketing tool for touring car manufacturers. As always in Europe, Chevrolet will be hosting a number of guests through their dealer networks, while we’ll also have several visitors from Korea. The WTCC is definitely gaining momentum and it is very satisfying to see that Chevrolet is right there with the best as the championship grows from strength to strength.”
PUEBLA RACE SCHEDULE (Local time = CET)
Friday, 16th May 2008
Saturday, 17th May 2008
08.30-09.00 Free Practice 1 11.30-12.00 Free Practice 2 15.00-15.30 Qualifying
Sunday, 18th May 2008
09.00-09.15 Warm up 12.05-12.30 Race 1 (13 laps = 52.065kms) (Rolling start) 15.50-16.15 Race 2 (13 laps = 52.065kms) (Standing start)
2008 WTCC DRIVERS POINTS STANDINGS (After 4 races of 24)
1. R Rydell (SEAT), 26 points; 2. G Tarquini (SEAT), 24pts; 3. Y Muller (SEAT), 22pts; 4. J Gené (SEAT), 15pts; 5. A Priaulx (BMW), 14pts; 6. T Monteiro (SEAT), 12pts; 7. J Müller (BMW), 11pts; 8. T Coronel (SEAT), 10pts; 9. F Porteiro (BMW), 9pts; 10. N Larini (Chevrolet), 6pts; 11. A Farfus (BMW), 3pts; 12. A Menu (Chevrolet), 3pts; 13. O Tielemans (BMW), 1pt.
2008 WTCC MANUFACTURERS POINTS STANDINGS (After 4 races of 24)
1. SEAT, 69 points; 2. BMW, 40pts; 3. Chevrolet, 28pts; 4. Honda, 0pts.
SUCCESS BALLAST FOR VALENCIA
1. R Rydell, 56kgs; 2. J Gené, 40kgs; 3. G Tarquini, 39kgs; 4. Y Muller, 32kgs; 5. T Monteiro, 32kgs; 6. J M Pérez-Aicart, 30kgs; 7. A Lvov, 30kgs; 8. A Smetsky, 30kgs; 9. T Coronel, 20kg; 10. A Priaulx, 14kg ; 11. J Müller, 11kgs; 12. F Porteiro, 9kgs; 13. N Larini, 6kgs; 14. A Farfus, 3kgs; 15. A Menu, 3kgs; 16. O Tielemans, 1kg.
VALENCIA WTCC ON TV
In Europe, warm-up and the second race will be broadcasted live on Eurosport International. The first race will be broadcasted live on Eurosport 2, while qualifying and the warm-up will be tape-delayed.