Tom Chilton Joins Yvan Muller In Cruzes For RML

Ray Mallock and Tom Chilton - Photo Credit: RML
Ray Mallock and Tom Chilton - Photo Credit: RML

RML will continue to run Chevrolet Cruzes in the World Touring Car Championship this year, with Yvan Muller and Tom Chilton behind the wheel.

Chevrolet ended its programme in the category with RML at the end of 2012 after eight years, which resulted in three straight drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles from 2010 to 2012.

While reigning world champion Rob Huff has switched to drive a SEAT for series newcomers Munnich Motorsport, former teammate Muller will continue with RML for a fourth campaign and a shot at a fourth world title.

Chilton switches from the Team Aon/Arena Motorsport setup that was owned by his father Grahame’s Capsicum Motorsport firm, but which has pulled out of the series after a tough maiden WTCC campaign with the Ford Focus.

RML chief executive Ray Mallock has made it clear that he is expecting the team’s first WTCC season as an independent outfit to be a tough challenge, particularly thanks to a lack of pre-season testing compared to the likes of Honda.

“Our partnership with Chevrolet reached a natural conclusion and whilst we are immensely proud of what we achieved on the track and for Chevrolet, time moves on and we are treating this as a whole new challenge,” said Mallock.

“The competition in the WTCC remains formidable and we do not underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead of us, particularly as we will have very limited pre-season testing.”

Ron Hartvelt, head of the company’s WTCC programme, added: “This is great news for all at RML and we’re immensely proud that we’ve managed to get a deal in place. 

“Everybody has been working incredibly hard to ensure we’re on the grid in Monza, so now we can look forward to working with Yvan and Tom to ensure this is a year to remember.

“Yvan of course has been with us since 2010, with two titles secured in the Cruze so we benefit greatly with his continued involvement. 

“Tom is new to RML but he’s demonstrated his natural ability and speed through his first year in the championship and of course through his success in the BTCC.  Tom now has good technical knowledge of the tracks we compete on and he’s well equipped with front-wheel drive touring car experience so I think he’ll be a great asset from the start.  We all look forward to working with him.”

Muller said: “I’m very fired-up for the new season and highly motivated to challenge for the title again. 

“I have been with RML for four years and I am very happy to continue our long association.  I have the highest respect for the RML team and a lot of faith in their ability to prepare and race a winning car.  For sure we’ll be mixing it with the works teams. Bring it on.”

Reigate racer Chilton, whose brother Max will race in Formula 1 this year, added: “2013 is looking very exciting for me.  Last year was a real learning curve, both in terms of getting used to a new championship and in quickly adapting to new circuits.  So now I have that experience, my target for this year is to be competitive from the start and to focus on consistent podium-worthy performance. 

“RML is a top team and I really can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the Cruze – I know there’ll be a lot to learn quickly but I believe I’ll be with one of the best teams to teach me.”

The new WTCC season begins at Monza on 24 March.