The Chevy Cruze team took the front row in qualifying for the penultimate tour of the 2012 World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in Shanghai, China. Alain Menu took the pole — his third in a row and fourth of the season, beating teammate Yvan Muller by an extraordinary two-hundredths of a second, while Rob Huff took fourth behind BMW driver Norbert Michelisz. Huff’s fourth qualification gives him a grid advantage for the second race in Shanghai.
The F1 track in Shanghai, which had a few turns removed from the normal F1 circuit, posed a number of challenges to the drivers, who faced unpredictable grip conditions in qualifying on Saturday. The two Sunday races will be key in determining the champion of the series’ Drivers’ championship, as the three Chevy drivers are the only ones in the running for the title.
In taking the pole, Menu has reduced the gap between himself and Muller to 37 points. After the last race in Suzuka, Japan, the Swiss driver was 38 points behind Muller and Huff, who were both tied for first at 345 points.
|1||T Coronel||BMW 320 TC|
|2||G Tarquini||SEAT León WTCC|
|3||A MacDowall||Chevrolet Cruze|
|4||P Oriola||SEAT León WTCC|
|5||S D’Aste||BMW 320 TC|
|6||C Turkington||Chevrolet Cruze|
|7||R Huff||Chevrolet Cruze|
|8||N Michelisz||BMW 320 TC|
|9||Y Muller||Chevrolet Cruze|
|10||A Menu||Chevrolet Cruze|
The Drivers’ title will be decided at the very last events of the season in two weeks’ time in Macau. A maximum of 105 points is still up for grabs, when all three Chevrolet drivers could possibly claim the title.
Chevrolet already won the Manufacturers’ championship — its third in a row — by a wide margin, with 844 points to second-place BMW’s 548. SEAT is in third with 533 points.
In addition to the top positions earned by the three RML drivers, two more Chevy Cruzen qualified in the top eight: Colin Turkington took fifth in a Aviva-livered Cruze, while Alex MacDowall was eighth in a Bamboo Engineering Cruze.
The two races in Shanghai take place early Sunday — and GM Authority will report on the results upon the completion of both races.