Muller on front row, Huff on second for Race 1
Menu puts Michel Vaillant on first row for Race 2
It was not the best qualifying session of the year for the Chevrolet team in Portugal, but the Cruzes are still well placed to obtain good results in both races tomorrow.
In a warm and breezy afternoon at Portimão, Yvan Muller and Rob Huff took 2nd and 4th respectively for Race 1, while Alain Menu qualified in 9th place. Gabriele Tarquini took pole position in a SEAT. In Race 2, Menu will start from P2, with Huff in 7th and Muller in 9th.
The RML run Cruzes proved competitive and well-balanced in the technical and long Portuguese track, but lacked that extra pace needed to fight for pole position.
There was an unusual expectation and excitement in the paddock, as Alain Menu, one of the Cruzes and part of the Chevrolet team appeared impersonating Michel Vaillant and the Vaillante car and team.
The characters of the popular motorsport comic books, created by Jean Graton in the late 1950s, came to life thanks to Menu and Chevrolet ahead of the publication of the next story of the series, which will be published later this year and is centered around the WTCC.
Philippe Graton, who succeeded his father at the helm of Graton Editions, followed all the action from the Vaillante/Chevrolet pits. He expressed his delight at seeing his father’s creation becoming real: “Michel Vaillant’s stories have always been about mixing fiction and reality, but all this here in Portugal is so well done; from the car, the truck, the pits to the details, such as the mechanics’ overalls, Michel’s helmet and everything else. I feel as though the comic strip has to life.”