Chevrolet arrive in Belgium for the second round of the World Touring Car Championship at the Zolder circuit leading the Manufacturers' standings and with its three drivers in the top three positions in the Drivers' standings.
Leading the way after the first round in Curitiba six weeks ago is Rob Huff. The Briton will be looking to build upon his points lead in Belgium.
“I am excited about starting the European season,” said Huff. “The Cruze worked well in Zolder last year, so I expect this to be the case this time too. In reality, we have a car and a package that is going to be competitive at every circuit, and this is our strength.
“Still, the competition is going to step-up in Zolder and it's going to be challenging to keep the 1-2-3 in the championship. I am leading the Drivers' standings for the first time, it's a nice feeling, but it doesn't mean much at this stage, so I'll be taking each weekend as it comes and try to do my best every time.”
Alain Menu is sitting second in the points after winning Race 2 in Curitiba. He too wants to continue his good start to the season at Zolder.
“Everything is under control and I am happy about how the new Cruze performs,” said Menu, “so I am going to Zolder with the objective to continue the course initiated in and score heavy points. I like Zolder, it is a technical circuit, with interesting fast corners like 1 and 3.
“I like less the chicanes, especially the second one, where it is never very clear whether you are allowed to cut a bit or not, although one needs to be very careful with the kerbs there. It is also a track where overtaking is not easy: if the driver in front doesn't make a mistake, it is very difficult to pass, so it will be key to be in front since qualifying.”
World champion Yvan Muller is tied on points with Menu after two podium finishes in Brazil. The Frenchman feels a good qualifying session will be crucial if he wants to score his first win of the season.
“Zolder is a one off kind of circuit and which has some mystique,” said Muller. “I think we can do well there, but it will be essential to do well in qualifying, because starting from the front rows is a real advantage there. I don't know what to expect from the competition, it will be interesting to see how much they have progressed since Brazil.”
Since the last race the team have been testing at Brands Hatch, as well as preparing the two Cruzes that will be used by the Bamboo Engineering team for the first time in Zolder.
“The cars came back from Brazil a couple of days earlier than expected, this meant that we had the time to bring them back to the RML factory instead of going straight to Zolder, which altered our logistics plan a little bit,” said team manager Ron Hartvelt. “In between races, we have been testing at Brands Hatch, and everything went well. We have also been busy building the two 1.6 turbo Cruzes for Bamboo Engineering, which will make their debut at Zolder. One of these cars is the one used by CacÃ¡ Bueno in and which was flown back after the race, the other is the first test car. Our new test car is currently being built at the factory, and this is the reason why we will not have a fourth car in Zolder this time.
“The Belgian track should suit us well, the only thing to watch carefully are the high kerbs, which caused some broken wheels last year. For the rest, with our three drivers in the top three positions in the championship, we can certainly look forward to some exciting racing.”
Chevrolet Motorsport Europe boss Eric Neve added: “Zolder, where I raced in the early days of my motorsport career, is a very special place to me and always brings back nice memories and warm feelings. It's a track where Chevrolet hasn't won yet, so we definitively have that as an objective. With the circuit being one of the favourite tracks of touring car fans and the many guests Chevrolet will have we can also expect quite a nice atmosphere during the entire weekend.”