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Chevrolet secures front row starts

Chevrolet will conclude the European leg of the 2012 World Touring Car Championship with a car on the front row for both races after qualifying at Portimao, and in a position to secure another good haul of Championship points.

The first race from the Portimao circuit will see Yvan Muller start from P2 and Rob Huff from P4, which means P7 and P9 in the second race. The qualifying result has seen Muller open up his Championship advantage by another two points over Huff.

“I am happy with my best lap in Q2 and with the overall balance of the car today,” explained the Frenchman. “We lacked some speed in Q2, but I think there was little we could have done against Tarquini this afternoon; he was definitely faster. Tomorrow will be a different story. We will have to be extremely cautious with the tires as they will play a key role, especially if it is as warm as today.”

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Huff isn’t happy with how his session went, having had to abort his first flying lap.

“I am a little bit frustrated as we could not extract the best out of the car this afternoon,” added the British driver. “I had to abort my first attempt in Q2 and then we did not have the right speed. It’s a pity because I think there was more to be achieved today.”

Alain Menu had a disappointing qualifying session and he lines up ninth for the opening race around Portimao. With the reverse grid however, he lines up second. The Swiss driver has the chance to secure a win for the fictional Michel Vaillant, as he is impersonating him.

His Chevrolet Cruze has been repainted to impersonate the livery of Vaillant and the Vaillante car. Some of the Chevrolet team has got in the spirit for the event as well, and for Philippe Graton, he is pleased to have seen his father’s creation become reality.

“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,” explained the Graton, who has succeeded his father at the helm of the Graton Editions.

“The balance of the car was fine, but we weren’t quick enough today,” concluded Menu. “In my case, I also had a lot of over-steer in the last, fast and long corner before the straight and I had to lift off to avoid exceeding the track limits which would have cost me a penalty. Still, I’m well placed for Race 2 and being on first row will allow the Vaillante to be in the spotlight.”

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