The 2012 WTCC season came to a close on Sunday November 18th in Macau — with the Chevrolet WTCC team earning double and triple finishes while walking away with a humongous and unprecedented 1,025 points for the Manufacturers’ title. All three Chevrolet-sponsored Cruze drivers remained in the top three spots for the Drivers’ championships, but it was Rob Huff — who was the Drivers points leader going into the weekend — who won the Drivers’ title. Teammate Alain Menu took silver in the season’s final standings, while Yvan Muller took third.
For all intents and purposes, Huff rewrote history during the qualification round last Friday, becoming the first touring car driver to complete the 6.1km course in under 2 minutes 30 seconds. Unsurprisingly, he took the pole, followed by Yvan Muller (in second) and Alain Menu in third. The all-blue lineup looked large and in charge at the beginning of the race.
Unfortunately Huff hit a wall during the fourth lap (of nine) and was forced to retire. “…I guess I wanted to ensure the entertainment until the very last moment”, the Briton reflected after the race — referring to the fact that had he won the first race, he would have already won the Drivers’ championship after the first run. “It was a stupid mistake that could have cost me a lot.”
As such, Muller won the first race with a time of 23minutes, 8 seconds and 977 milliseconds, while Menu came in second at 0.915 seconds behind. Third place went to Tiago Monteiro in a Honda Civic S2000, who was 1.297 seconds behind Muller.
After Huff retired due to the damage to his Cruze, the Chevy WTCC crew immediately began fixing up the car for the second race.
“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”, said Huff. “This is proof of the fantastic team spirit.”
Once that was done, and after a fairly long (and nail-biting) time between the first and second race, Huff started in seventh, since he took pole during race 1.
“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.”
Taking seventh wasn’t enough to clinch the title, so Huff “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.”
Menu finished the second race of 11 laps first in 35.36.096, with Huff and Muller coming in second and third — 0.320 seconds and 0.889 seconds behind Menu, respectively.
A second-place finish was enough for Huff to claim the winning 413 points to Menu’s 401 and Muller’s 393.
“It is going to take a while before I realize I’m the new World Champion,” reflected Huff. “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.”
In addition to fielding the top three drivers for the 2012 WTCC season, Chevrolet also won the Manufacturers’ title — by a wide margin.
After what could only be described as an inspiring eight-year run for Chevrolet in the WTCC resulting in three double titles (Manufacturers’ and Drivers’) and a whopping 68 wins, the Macau events were the official runs for The Bow Tie brand in the WTCC series. Luckily, independent Chevy Cruze drivers will continue to compete in the series in 2013.
Among these is Alex MacDowall, who finished the first race in Macau in ninth place but only completed 3 laps in the second event due to an accident. Unfortunately, a qualifying round in Macau claimed the life of an independent Chevy Cruze driver Phillip Yau Wing-Choi, whose Cruze collided into a barrier and caught fire.
We congratulate the Chevy WTCC team on another excellent season, wish all independent WTCC Cruze drivers great fortune in 2013, and mourn the passing of Mr. Wing-Choi.