MACAU - Rob Huff won the 2012 World Touring Car Championship Drivers’ title in a convoluted last round in Macau, which saw Chevrolet end the 2012 season with a massive and unprecedented 1,025 points after double and triple finishes.
Huff deservedly clinched his first WTCC Drivers’ title, but had to suffer until the very end of Race 2 after making an uncharacteristic mistake in the first race, forcing him to retire and delaying celebrations until the very last lap.
It was an exciting and emotional day for the team. Yvan Muller and Alain Menu took 1st and 2nd respectively in Race 1, while the Swiss – who gave Chevrolet its first WTCC win in 2006 – posted the last success for the team, taking the laurels in Race 2 ahead of Huff and Muller.
Huff, who was placed 3rd in 2010 and 2nd in 2011, ended the season on 413 points. He was followed by Alain Menu on 401 points and Yvan Muller takes on 393 points. This was the third consecutive Drivers’ title for Chevrolet and the RML-run Cruzes, which follows the Manufacturers’ third title won in Suzuka, Japan.
Chevrolet achieved an historical record, being the first constructor ever to pass the 1,000-point threshold and finishing the season on 1,025 points, ahead of BMW (650) and SEAT (617).
It was a fitting send off for Chevrolet as Darryl O’Young scored points in both races in the Independents’ Trophy at the wheel of a Bamboo Engineering Cruze.
Sunday’s races were packed with action and accidents. Muller got off to a great start in Race 1, arriving at the first corner ahead of pole sitter Huff and Menu. On lap 4, the Briton managed to overtake Muller at the Lisboa corner, but his leadership lasted barely minutes after he hit the wall at Pariol, damaging his Cruze and forcing him to the pits.
Meanwhile, Muller and Menu battled for victory up front. The two made contact, but the Swiss managed to stay out of the barriers and eventually crossed the line ahead of his teammate.
In Race 2, Menu had a great start from P8 and quickly took the lead, which he kept until the chequered flag. Huff ended 2nd after picking off those in front of him. He narrowly avoided Oriola (SEAT) and Michelisz (BMW) after the two independent drivers came together in the closing laps. Muller took 3rd place after being involved in a race incident with MacDowall. The safety car had to be called out following the two incidents.
The Macau race was the last for Chevrolet in the WTCC series after an extraordinary eight-year journey that produced three double WTCC titles (Manufacturers’ and Drivers’) and a staggering 68 race wins.
Rob Huff (DNF/2nd): “What an incredible day! I really made things difficult for myself in Race 1 when I hit a wall – I guess I wanted to ensure the entertainment until the very last moment. It was a stupid mistake that could have cost me a lot. The boys did a fantastic job to repair the car for Race 2 and I must thank all the mechanics, including Alain’s and Yvan’s crews who also helped out. This is proof of the fantastic team spirit. The time in between races was really long and horrific. I preferred to stay in the car and reflect on what not to repeat. Luckily, things went smoothly in the second race. I was 7th at the beginning, which was not enough to clinch the title. I remained calm and gained position after position, ending up in 2nd place. I had a scary moment two laps from the end, when Michelisz and Oriola collided in front of me at the Lisboa corner. I missed Oriola by millimeters. It is going to take a while before I realize I’m the new World Champion. I guess it’s something that has to sink in slowly. It’s a perfect end to a fantastic venture. Eight year ago, Chevrolet and RML took a gamble on me and I hope today I proved them right.”
Alain Menu (2nd/1st): “It’s great to finish with a win. In a way I am closing the loop. I won the first race for Chevrolet in 2006 at Brands Hatch (UK), and now the last one… and we are leaving the WTCC with a 1-2-3; it’s great. Needless to say, I am a little bit disappointed not to win the Drivers’ title by so few points, but that’s racing. I knew I had to win both races to be in with a chance, and I came close to doing so. Finishing 2nd in Race 1 and winning Race 2 means I did quite a good job. I pushed hard without thinking about what was happening behind me because I had no control on my teammates’ race. Overall I had a good season and I am very happy with what we achieved. It’s still hard to realize that it is all over – we will definitely be sad tomorrow, but tonight we’ll surely have a great party.”
Yvan Muller (1st/3rd): “A bronze medal in the WTCC was missing in my collection, but now I have it… Clearly, I would have preferred another outcome, but I knew it was going to be difficult to win the championship after Shanghai. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and you have to accept it. I want to congratulate Rob on his title – it is well-deserved. Race 1 was good for me. I was happy to win in Macau for the first time. In Race 2 there was this incident with Alex MacDowall; he missed the apex at the Mandarin corner, the fastest of all, and I was too close to be able to do anything to avoid him. I am sorry, but relieved he is OK. Being with Chevrolet these last three years has been a terrific experience and I will retain great memories of this time.”
Ron Hartvelt (WTCC Project Manager): “It has been a very emotional day and we couldn’t have asked for better results. It has been a great team effort once again, especially since we had to repair Rob’s car in a very short period of time after Race 1. We can only be proud of what this team has achieved and the way in which they have achieved it. It’s a perfect ending to a fantastic project.”
Vijay Iyer (Director Communications, Chevrolet Europe): “I want to thank our drivers and everybody at RML for the outstanding job, the commitment and the spirit shown during this weekend, the entire season and the eight years of Chevrolet’s presence in the WTCC. To finish with a 1-2-3 is really symbolic of how great this experience has been for everyone involved. This has been a fantastic program for Chevrolet, which has brought a lot to our brand, and we say goodbye to the WTCC with a sense of pride for our achievements.”
MACAU RACE 1 RESULTS (9 laps)
1. Y Muller Chevrolet Cruze 23m08s977
2. A Menu Chevrolet Cruze + 0s915
3. T Monteiro Honda Civic S2000 + 1s297
4. G Tarquini SEAT León WTCC + 1s967
5. O’Young Chevrolet Cruze +11s519
9 A MacDowall Chevrolet Cruze +1m16s524
DNF R Huff Chevrolet Cruze 4 laps (accident damage)
MACAU RACE 2 RESULTS (11 laps)
1. A Menu Chevrolet Cruze 35m36s096
2. R Huff Chevrolet Cruze + 0s320
3. Y Muller Chevrolet Cruze + 0s889
4. T Monteiro Honda Civic S2000 + 9s015
5. D O’Young Chevrolet Cruze + 9s786
DNF A MacDowall Chevrolet Cruze 3 laps (Accident)
WTCC DRIVERS’ FINAL STANDINGS RACE 24 OF 24
1. Huff (Chevrolet), 413 ; 2. Menu (Chevrolet), 401 ; 3. Muller (Chevrolet), 393 ; 4. Tarquini (SEAT), 252 ; 5. Coronel (BMW), 207 ; … 11. MacDowall (Chevrolet), 68 ; … 14. O’Young (Chevrolet), 37; …16. Nykjær (Chevrolet), 20 ; … 19. Rydell (Chevrolet), 14
WTCC MANUFACTURERS’ FINAL STANDINGS RACE 24 OF 24
1. Chevrolet, 1,025 points; 2. BMW, 650; 3. SEAT, 617.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design and high quality.
Chevrolet has a strong heritage in the Middle East - stretching back more than eight decades - where it has established itself as one of the most trusted automotive brands in the region. The Chevrolet portfolio includes passenger cars, crossovers SUVs and pickups, from the Camaro and Corvette performance cars, to award-winning passenger cars including the Spark, Sonic, Cruze and Malibu, to crossovers like the Captiva and Traverse, to the Colorado and Silverado pickups. More information regarding Chevrolet models can be found at http://media.chevroletarabia.com