AND ROB HUFF RIGHT BEHIND HIM
The Chevrolet Lacettis in Good Form in Demanding Brno Track
The Chevrolet Lacettis will be serious contenders for podium positions in today’s Czech rendez-vous of the 2008 World Touring Car Championship: Alain Menu will start from the first row after setting second-fastest time, and Rob Huff (4th) will be right behind him in the grid.
Nicola Larini (12th time) had a more disappointing day, as he could not come up with a satisfying set-up in his car and had to change the engine in-between the two free practice sessions. His day became completely miserable when he was sanctioned, together with other drivers, with a 2000 euro fine and relegation to the back of the grid for non-conformity of his racing shoes, which although new, did not carry the homologation stamp.
Still, yesterday’s result has pleased the entire Chevrolet WTCC, which receives this week-end the visit of Wayne Brannon, Executive Director of Chevrolet Europe, as the hilly Moravian track is certainly more favorable to rear-wheel cars and the Lacettis carry in this occasion a relatively high success ballast.
Despite all this, at least one of the three Lacettis has always been in the top three during free practice, and for most of the qualifying session Menu and Huff were provisionally occupying the entire first row, being beaten only in the last few minutes. It was obvious that the good work done during the collective free testing day on Thursday paid its dividend; that session eventually ended with Rob and Alain setting the fastest times. As always in Brno, race day will reward those who will be able to tackle the endemic issue on this track, understeer, but other parameters, like weather conditions, may also come into the play. This was not bad news at all two years ago when Rob gave the Lacetti its second WTCC win...
Alain Menu (2nd): “It is always a little bit frustrating to lose pole position in the very last minutes, but I am very pleased with our overall performance. We did a good job during the test session on Thursday and free practice today and it showed this afternoon. I opted for a very sharp set-up for qualifying, the car worked well and I could attack, although it was very trick at times, because the car was extremely sensitive when accelerating and braking. Now we will work to find the best set-up for the race tomorrow, trying to minimize understeer and front tyres consumption. The race looks very open and I hope the fight will be clean and clear, but the main objective remains to score heavy points”.
Rob Huff (4th): “I am happy with my fourth place, it is a good result taking into account that I carry 37 kg of ballast, but it is a pity to lose second position in the very closing minutes of the session. The car was feeling good and my last lap was as fast as my best one; unfortunately I lost two tenth in the first section, otherwise I think I could even be in pole today”.
Nicola Larini (disq.): “It has been a difficult day for me. Just like in Valencia, the car is not working as it should. I had to struggle with a lot of understeer, I just had the impression to drive on tyres that had raced a hundred laps! After the first free session this morning, we changed the engine and things improved a bit. On top of everything, my last flying lap was ruined by a slower car that blocked me for a long time. Regarding the issue of the shoes, I really do not understand as this pair was coming straight from the official supplier. I can only hope tomorrow will be a better day”. .
BRNO QUALIFYING RESULTS
1. A Zanardi BMW 320si 2m08s9132. A Menu Chevrolet Lacetti + 0s1263. F Porteiro BMW 320si + 0s1874. R Huff Chevrolet Lacetti + 0s1915. G Tarquini SEAT Leon TDI + 0s586disq. N Larini Chevrolet Lacetti (+ 1s411)