Chevrolet Drivers Predict Tough Valencia Races

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Yvan Muller, Alain Menu, Rob Huff - Photo Credit:

Chevrolet don't expect to have it all their own way in Spain - Photo Credit:

Chevrolet's World Touring Car Championship drivers say they anticipate a challenging weekend in Spain at the second round of the season.

The Ricardo Tormo Circuit traditionally favours rear-wheel drive cars, and with Chevrolet having to carry additional weight they could be at a further disadvantage at the twisty track.

Yvan Muller got the defence of his title off to a good start in Monza with a double victory, but is expecting a tougher time in Valencia with worries over tyre wear.

“We had a very good start of the season, despite all the drama in the Monza race; but all this is behind us,” he said. “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 tyres for the closing laps.”

Conversely, teammate Rob Huff is optimistic of an improvement in form in Spain.

“Monza was crazy; no one had raced for four months and I think in my case the rustiness showed,” he said.

“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.”

Alain Menu went as far as to say that aiming for a race victory was unrealistic.

“I expect Valencia to be especially challenging this year, given the weight we carry,” said the Swiss veteran. “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 favourites. 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 tyres towards the end of the races. My objective is to score as many points as possible.”

RML's WTCC Project Manager Ron Hartvelt commented: “We did all our winter testing in Valencia, so we can say that we are well-practiced there. But it is notoriously a difficult track for front wheel-drive cars and we have to see how the extra weight affects us. One good thing is that the Valencia round is taking place earlier in the year than usual, and this should give us cooler temperatures, which will be helpful towards preserving the tyres.

“This is one of the few circuits where you race counter-clockwise, has a succession of relatively slow corners with different radius and numerous changes of direction. It is interesting but not easy. As always, we will try to do our best. We are certainly watching the weather factor very closely this time.”

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Peter joined the TCF team in September 2010 and covers GP2 and GP3 along with WTCC and Formula Two. You can find him on twitter at @PeteAllen_
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