ROB HUFF NOW IN THIRD IN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPAs Nicola Larini Finishes On Podium On Home Soil
Chevrolet accomplished a difficult mission at the last European WTCC round of the season at Monza, yesterday. The goal was to move Rob Huff further up in the championship standings, a task which the team managed through careful team work in qualifying and solid racing on Sunday. In the first race though, both Menu and Huff fell victim to the traditional first corner melee, with Rob dropping to 12th and Alain to near-last. Larini was the one who benefited from the pile-up and put his car in fourth where he would stay until the last lap before finishing sixth. By that time, Huff had clawed his way back to seventh, and Alain to 12th.
In the second race, Huff again was the victim of another driver’s zeal in the first corner, something which eventually led to his retirement two laps from the finish. While Nicola Larini secured a podium finish for Chevrolet, Alain Menu fought back to a very competitive fifth, setting fastest race lap and thus showing what could have been without the earlier incident.Japanese newcomer, Max Orido, did what was expected of him in both races: staying out of trouble and learning as much as possible, which was rewarded by a 15th place finish in race one and a 17th place in race two.
• QUOTESNicola Larini (6th/3rd): “I had a very good start and steered clear of any mishaps in turn one. I overtook Farfus pretty easily for fourth and then tried to get to third. But each time I tried, the door was closed, and even when it was open it was closed on me again by Rydell. He hit me and cut the chicane. Then near the end I settled for sixth, which was still good for the second row. In the second race I quickly moved up to third, but there was no chance of passing the two leaders, so third it was. Nevertheless I’m happy with the result, although I am of course still chasing that first win. But there are still four races to try this year, and another 24 next year!”
Alain Menu (12th/5th): “I’m sure a podium would have been possible, but somebody in the middle of the pack decided differently in the braking zone for the first chicane, so I resumed my race at the bottom end of the field. I thought the suspension might have been damaged when the car was launched in the air, but it was okay, so I chased as hard as I could and made it back to 12th. In race two I just went for it. I had a good start and could pick off the guys in front of me one by one. Another lap and I would have passed the car in fourth, but fifth in the end is pretty good after a long fight from behind. In three weeks time we can have another shot at victory in the Japanese mountains.”
Rob Huff (7th/DNF): “I had a really good start and caught a lot of guys asleep. Then I got hit from behind in the first chicane, but luckily managed to catch the car out of a half-spin. Fortunately for me Farfus had a problem which put me in eighth. Then just before the finish line both Nic and Gené had slowed, so I couldn’t help but pass the SEAT and finish seventh. All in all, the car handled a lot better now than it did in qualifying. At the start of race two someone gave me a right big push up the rear end, which bent my steering so badly that I had to turn right on the straights, and was left with almost no right turn at all in the corners. I soldiered on as well as I could, but two laps from the end I had a puncture and that was it. So, we’ve again moved up a place in the championship, although at the same time the gap to the leaders has widened.”
Max Orido (15th/17th): “Fortunately I managed to avoid the accident in front of me in the first corner so once past that I could concentrate on my own race. I had a good fight with Aoki-san for almost the whole race, but I’m glad I came out on top and finish first of the Japanese drivers. In the second race I unfortunately broke a drive shaft in the warming up lap, so after repairs I had to start from the pitlane. But I had a great race again to finish 17th.”
MONZA RACE 1 RESULTS
1. Y Muller SEAT Leon TDI 9 laps in 18m16s4482. G Tarquini SEAT Leon TDI +0s2773. A Priaulx BMW 320si +1s7104. T Monteiro SEAT Leon TDI +3s6995. N Larini Chevrolet Lacetti +8s1116. R Huff Chevrolet Lacetti +8s2067. J Gené SEAT Leon TDI +8s4348. A Zanardi BMW 320si +11s05611. A Menu Chevrolet Lacetti +19s72215. M Orido Chevrolet Lacetti +28s993
MONZA RACE 2 RESULTS (PROVISIONAL)1. G Tarquini SEAT Leon TDI 9 laps in 18m18s3972. J Gené SEAT Leon TDI +0s3163. N Larini Chevrolet Lacetti +0s6464. Y Muller SEAT Leon TDI +2s7805. A Menu Chevrolet Lacetti +3s0566. T Monteiro SEAT Leon TDI +8s2317. A Zanardi BMW 320si +9s5228. A Farfus BMW 320si +11s90117. M Orido Chevrolet Lacetti +31s444DNF R Huff Chevrolet Lacetti Accident damage (7 laps)
DRIVERS POINTS STANDINGS AFTER RACE 20 OF 24 (PROVISIONAL)1. Y Muller (SEAT), 95 points; 2. G Tarquini (SEAT), 86; 3. R Huff (Chevrolet), 64; 4. R Rydell (SEAT), 62; 5. A Priaulx (BMW), 61;…9. N Larini (Chevrolet), 48;… 11. A Menu (Chevrolet), 44;
MANUFACTURERS POINTS STANDINGS AFTER RACE 20 OF 24 (PROVISIONAL)1. SEAT, 277 points; 2. BMW, 223; 3. Chevrolet, 197; 4. Honda, 46.