The two title contenders to share the front row, Menu out of Q2 following accidentMACAU, 18th November 2011 – Rob Huff took pole position in a thrilling qualifying session,ahead of the last and decisive two races in Macau on Sunday. The Brit kept the advantagethroughout Q2, confirming his status of “Master of Macau”, as he clinched the third pole inthree years on the treacherous street track of the former Portuguese enclave. He will sharethe front row of Race 1 with his main rival in the battle for the Drivers’ title, Yvan Muller. Thepoints leader also posted a very good time, only 268 hundredths of a second behind histeam mate.
Today’s pole has a special meaning for the Cruze and the RML team as Chevrolet achievesthe record of having taken all the pole positions in a season!
The qualifying session took place in dry conditions, but was full of incidents, as customary inMacau. Unfortunately, Alain Menu was one of the victims, as he made contact with a slowercar in Q1, missing the cut to Q2. The Swiss driver will start from P12 in both races.Huff will be well positioned for Race 2 as well, as he will start from P3, with Muller P8. Theprivately run Cruze of Darryl O’Young also made it into the top ten, clinching an excellentfourth fastest time in Q2.
There will be no track activity for the WTCC tomorrow in Macau, but the day will be devotedto prepare the decisive races on Sunday, with the tension ahead the final duel betweenYvan and Rob for the championship undoubtedly reaching its climax…
• QUOTESRob Huff (1st): “I am, of course, extremely happy with today’s pole position, whichreconfirms the special bond I have with this circuit. It’s a good start to the weekend wherethe only strategy is to go for it flat out! My title chances do not depend on my results only,so the best thing I can do is try to win both races, using the advantage of starting ahead ofYvan in both races.”
Yvan Muller (2nd): “I am not entirely satisfied with my qualifying, especially with Q1, but thesituation is what it is. We knew Rob is usually very fast here in Macau and he confirmed it.We’ll try to further improve the balance of the car from here to Sunday and I will have to takea very strategic approach to both races, trying to stay as close to Rob as possible.”Alain Menu (13th): “I am obviously very frustrated with my qualifying, as I think I could havedone very well. I was on my fast lap and I had been the fastest in sector 1, when I literallystumbled on Couto, who was on a slow lap, in the twisty corners of sector 2. He did not giveme enough way and we had contact, which left my front right wheel open. I managed tobring the car back to the pits, but there was not enough time for repairs, and missed the topten, which in a circuit like this means you basically lose all your chances for Sunday…”
Eric Nève: “We have always been competitive in Macau, and the tradition is respected, butthis time we left the competition 1.2 behind, which is impressive. Twelve poles in twelverounds is a great achievement for the entire team and something unprecedented in theWTCC! With Rob and Yvan sharing the front row and the battle for the title still open, I thinkwe are going to see two lively and exciting races on Sunday!”
MACAU QUALIFYING RESULTS (RACE 1 GRID)1. R Huff Chevrolet Cruze 2m30s8812. Y Muller Chevrolet Cruze + 0s2683. G Tarquini SEAT SR León 1.6T + 1s2664. D O’Young Chevrolet Cruze + 1s6385. T Coronel BMW 320 TC + 2s94412. A Menu Chevrolet Cruze (2m34s804) Q1
MACAU RACE 2 GRID POSITIONS1. F Engstler BMW 320 TC (2m34s232)2. M Nykjær SEAR SR León 1.6T (2m34s232)3. R Huff Chevrolet Cruze (2m34s224)4. T Coronel BMW 320 TC ‘2m34s171)5. G Tarquini SEAT SR León 1.6T (2m34s085)8. Y Muller Chevrolet Cruze (2m33s353)9. D O’Young Chevrolet Cruze (2m33s177)12. A Menu Chevrolet Cruze (2m34s804)