Chevrolet leave the Hungarian round of the World Touring Car Championship pleased with their performances, after securing their fourth 1-2-3 result of the season in Round 9.
Yvan Muller won the opening race around the Hungaroring from team-mates Rob Huff and Alain Menu to further extend his championship lead. However in the second race of the day the Frenchman could only manage tenth, whilst Menu went on to finish second and leap-frog Huff in the championship standings.
“It was a good weekend all in all,” admitted Muller afterwards. “Race 1 was quite straightforward. Once we got past the first corner, half the job was done. After that, I just focused on driving in the cleanest way possible and made sure not to make any mistakes. I knew that given the pace I had throughout the weekend, it would have been difficult for my teammates to pass me. Everything went well and it was a clean win.
“Race 2 was more difficult as Rob and I got stuck behind the SEATs. In the closing laps, I had to defend my position from the BMWs of D’Aste and Engstler. I ran wide in the last lap and it cost me two positions.”
Swiss Menu enjoyed the strongest weekend of the Chevrolet trio, and left Hungary in a positive frame of mind.
“This was definitely a very good weekend for the team and me,” said Menu. “Two podium results and a considerable haul of points is great, but what pleases me most is my engineer and mechanics’ quality of the work – we are really doing a good job and improving round after round.”
In the second race, Menu was forced to settle for second behind local hero Norbert Michelisz, having only got past Pepe Oriola and Mehdi Bennani with four laps to go and a 4.4 second deficit to reduce.
“I think I had a great race, attacking without taking excessive risks,” added Menu of his second race. “It wasn’t easy with Monteiro first and then Bennani and Oriola. Finishing second from P8 on the grid is not bad at all. Michelisz was too far away in the closing lap, and to be honest it’s nice to see him having his day of glory at his home race.”
Huff, despite dropping to third in the standings, was pleased to have reduced the gap to leader Muller. The Brit could only manage seventh in the second race to add to his second in the first race.
“I’m pleased with the results as I reduced the points gap in the championship despite dropping a position,” explained ‘Huffy’. “Race 1 was another great team success for Chevrolet and RML. At the first corner there was contact with Tarquini – he was trying an impossible overtake from the outside line and he hit me. Luckily, I stayed on the track but the handling of my car was somewhat compromised. In the circumstances, I’m happy with second.
“Obviously, I’m not massively pleased with 7th in the second race, but we couldn’t do any better. I got stuck behind Tarquini and had Yvan behind me, so I had to be very cautious. Unfortunately, this is a circuit where overtaking is not easy, as turns are a succession of left and right-handers and this makes it very difficult to pass if the car in front of you has a similar pace.”
Meanwhile Chevrolet Racing Manager, Eric Nève, was pleased to see Michelisz take the victory at his home race – something the many thousands of Hungarian fans had dreamt of witnessing. Nève was also pleased to see such a high turnout at another central European race – perhaps justifying the series organisers decision to drop Germany and Great Britain from the 2012 calendar somewhat.
“It is very nice to see such a large crowd enjoying their hero’s success; that’s very good for the WTCC,” said Nève. “Alain and I are going to Vienna Monday to promote the next round at the Salzburgring. This will be the first WTCC event ever in Austria and we expect to see many fans there. Staying in Central Europe – where touring car racing is so popular – is positive and will help build momentum around the Championship.”