Chevrolet clinched their first World Touring Car Championship Manufacturers' title as Rob Huff took victory in race one at Macau, while Yvan Muller was officially declared Drivers' Champion.
After Muller finished second in race one to record a Chevrolet 1-2, the pair fought their way through from seventh and eighth on the reverse grid in race two, with Huff finishing third and Muller fourth. Huff narrowly missed out on second place in the drivers' standings, losing out to Gabriele Tarquini on number of wins after the pair tied on points.
Muller, who won the 2008 championship with SEAT before joining the RML-run Chevrolet team for 2010 was delighted with the way his season had gone. “It's fantastic to conquer the title in my first year with Chevrolet,” he said. “It's never easy to be competitive straight away with a new car and a new team, but integration into this wonderful team has been easy, as I received a lot of support from every member of the team. I have no words to express my appreciation and my gratitude to them.
“It is my second WTCC title, I am really very happy, I want to enjoy every single second of this success and share it with all the people that made it possible. Moments like this are so rare in life that one has really to take the chance to savour and enjoy them fully!”
Huff, who has been part of the RML-Chevrolet programme since it made its WTCC debut in 2005, was proud of the team's achievements. “What a great car and what a great team we have,” he said. “Congratulations to Yvan, he drove beautifully throughout the season and fully deserves the title. The team has done a terrific job in putting all the pieces of the puzzle together to achieve this great result.
“I am proud of being part of such a team and grateful of the trust that Chevrolet and RML put on me since day one. I had some cracking results throughout this season, although I couldn't be in a position to fight for the title due to some race incidents out of my control, but I really look forward to next year”.
Alain Menu finished seventh in race one in Macau before stalling on the front row for race two due to clutch problems. The Swiss driver finished sixth in the final drivers' standings. “It's a fantastic day for Chevrolet, RML and the entire team, I am really very, very happy,” he said. “When we started, almost from nothing some six years ago, we really had a very big task ahead of us, bigger than anyone would have thought at that time. But we made it and I am proud of having brought my contribution.
“I still remember with deep emotion our first win in Brands Hatch in 2006 – that is really a special memory. Now we have to enjoy the moment and then go back to work. After a difficult season for me this year, I really look forward to give Yvan and Rob a hard time in 2011!”
President and Managing Director of Chevrolet Europe, Wayne Brannon, took the opportunity to thank those involved. “Today's achievement is the culmination of six years of hard work, of incredible dedication and true passion,” he said. “I want to thank all the many talented and dedicated people who have been involved in Chevrolet's WTCC programme since the very beginning and who have made this success possible. It is them who are always first place in my book.
“'World Champion' is a label that Chevrolet is very proud of, especially as our brand continues to grow globally with more and more customers choosing us every day. We are excited about the launch of many new and innovative products that respond to customer needs. I am immensely happy for this incredible RML racing team and all the Chevrolet employees, customers and fans throughout the world”.
The team's success marks both Chevrolet and GM's first title in an FIA-sanctioned World Championship. Nick Reilly, President of GM Europe said: “It is with great happiness that I extend my warmest congratulations to the whole Chevrolet team for this great success, which is a well-deserved reward to the great work done over six years. Since the launch of Chevrolet's WTCC campaign in 2005, from a blank sheet of paper, I was convinced this team was to become a World Champion, and today is the day!”
Eric Neve has overseen the running of the WTCC programme since day one in his role as Chevrolet Europe's Motorsport Manager. “We all share a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment today, it's a very rewarding moment,” he explained. “What I would say, from my perspective, is that consistency and continuity have paid off. Those have been my guidelines during the six years of this programme: chose the best technical partner, the best people, the best drivers, build something with them and stick with them.
“I always prefer to look ahead rather than behind, but if I have to chose a moment among the many lived during this six years, I would pick up the weekend of our debut, Monza 2005. It was an emotional moment, where one could feel the excitement of the entire company around us. Our cars qualified in positions 21, 22 and 23 in that first race, three and a half seconds from pole. That in itself shows the long way we've come since then. At the end of that weekend, the list of 'points to work on' included no less than 160 items! I guess we've gone through all of them.”
Ray Mallock, CEO of RML Ltd., said: “It's a fantastic feeling to be World Champions and the cherry on the cake to an incredible season. We knew we were competitive and that we could deliver this result, now it's done! This was our objective since we started the WTCC programme with Chevrolet, it has been a tough and wonderful journey, building up year after year. We now look forward to the new Cruze 1.6 turbo and are very excited about this next challenge”.