Chevrolet arrives at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia on the back of a double race winning start to the campaign at Monza, the perfect way for the team to start the defence of their Championship titles from 2011.
The layout of the Spanish circuit will mean that the front wheel drive Chevrolet Cruze’s could struggle with brake and tyre wear as the race progresses, as the circuit is a tight and twisty configuration.
One of the major talking points from Monza was the incidents which happened between the three Chevrolet drivers during both the Italian races, but Eric Neve confirms that this has been discussed and won’t happen again.
”Monza was, of course, quite a memorable season-opener with great results for the team. From a sporting point of view, some limits were exceeded and we took appropriate measures to make sure that this does not happen again. We don’t want any of our drivers to be penalized by the behavior of a team mate, and we have made that very clear. We will be watching closely what happens in Valencia and I am sure that the sportive spirit we had throughout last year will prevail,” explains the Chevrolet Motorsport Manager.
Alain Menu has openly admitted that he expects the Spanish weekend to be a tough one for the team and is looking to score as many points as possible in the two races.
“I expect Valencia to be especially challenging this year, given the weight we carry,” explains the Swiss driver, who arrives third in the Championship.
“I don’t think we can really aim at winning, but it is true that in the past we have obtained much better results than initially hoped. I like the track, but it is not one of my favorites. It is very technical with a lot of braking where you can easily make small mistakes.
“So it is very important to drive smoothly, which is not always possible during the races when you are fighting with others. It is also very important to find a very subtle set-up for the car to avoid destroying the tires towards the end of the races. My objective is to score as many points as possible.”
Arriving at Valencia as the Championship leader is Yvan Muller. The Frenchman secured a double win at Monza to give himself the perfect opening weekend. The Spanish weekend last season also saw him secure a double victory; he benefitted from the three leading BMW’s taking each other out in the latter stages.
Muller said: “We had a very good start of the season, despite all the drama in the Monza race; but all this is behind us and we are focusing on the next races. Valencia will certainly be tougher for us. Last year, three BMWs were ahead of us towards the end of Race 2 and we only won because they committed some sort of collective suicide in the last couple of corners. I am sure we can be competitive over one lap, but in the races, it will be more complicated and we’ll have to do everything possible to save the tires for the closing laps.”
Rob Huff, who currently sits second in the Championship, reckons that the mayhem at Monza was down to race rustiness, having not raced since the season finale at Macau in November.
He also predicts a tough weekend for the Chevrolet drivers at Valencia: “Monza was crazy; no one had raced for four months and I think in my case the rustiness showed. I am sure things will improve as from Valencia. This is a track which traditionally has been good for us. This said, the weight differential with our competitors is higher this year and Valencia is definitely the hardest circuit to carry extra weight. It will be crucial to find a good balance and to qualify well.
“The track is hard on both front and rear tires, which suffer considerably in some turns, such as the last corner where you have a long breaking zone while turning at the same time. The rear left tire is under a lot of constraints being on and off touching the surface.”