The Chevrolet team opened the turbo era in WTCC in style last week at Curitiba, having a great start to the season in which they aim to defend their world titles.
Rob Huff and Alain Menu shared race victories, while reigning champion Yvan Muller collected two valuable podium results.
The team’s guest driver, Brazilian Stock Car hero Carlos ‚Cacá‘ Bueno also shone in his home event and claimed two excellent results: third in Race 1 (his first podium finish in WTCC) and fifth in Race 2.
Huff left Brazil as the leader of the championship, closely followed by Menu and Muller.
Chevrolet Motorsport Director Eric Nève commented: "What a nice way to start the season! We can really feel proud of the entire team, the drivers and especially the engine guys, who have done a fantastic job during the winter, allowing us to live a perfect weekend in Curitiba."
The championship will resume at Zolder, Belgium, on April 24th for rounds 3 and 4.
The Chevrolet Cruze 1.6 T cars of Huff and Muller lead Race 1 at Curitiba
GOOD START FOR BMW AND CORONEL
Tom Coronel showed the potential of the new BMW 320 TC during the second race at Curitiba. The Dutch racer seriously threatened Chevrolet’s supremacy and claimed a well deserved second place that boosted BMW Motorsport’s hopes.
"I had a great start and then Tarquini helped by keeping the Chevrolet guys behind for a few laps. But the Cruze was very strong and better on the braking than my car. It was a good start for us. I have a strong team and a good car, which makes me think it will be a nice season," Coronel said.
ROAL Motorsport team principal Roberto Ravaglia echoed: "I am more than satisfied. After finishing to assemble the car we had just the time for a shake down before shipping it to Brazil. Therefore our target was to finish in the top five/six positions. Results went beyond our expectations and confirmed the quality of the work done by BMW Motorsport."
In Brazil, Coronel’s BMW 320 TC fought for victory in the second race
VOLVO POLESTAR SATISFIED WITH OPENING RACES
After months of preparations, Polestar Racing and Robert Dahlgren kicked off Volvo’s evaluation season in the WTCC.
"We were satisfied with this opening as it met with our expectations and was encouraging for the continuation of the season," said Christian Dahl, Managing Director of Polestar Racing.
The team’s Volvo C30 ran with the 2.0L naturally-aspirated engine. A switch to the newly developed 1.6L turbo is going to take place later during the season.
"Compared to our competitors‘ new turbo engines the gap in power was especially clear at Curitiba that is located 1000 metres above the sea. Our calculations showed it was about nine tenths per lap. But keeping in mind how close we were to the top of the field, it shows that our development work with the chassis during the winter has paid off," said Dahl.
Dahlgren beat the 2010 pole position time in Q1 and missed the qualification for Q2 by just 0.4 seconds. In spite of a clutch problem he finished both races in 12th and 13th respectively.
Dahlgren and his Polestar Volvo C30 started Volvo’s evaluation season
POULSEN AND VILLA WIN YOKOHAMA TROPHY
Competitors of the Yokohama Trophy offered exciting battles at Curitiba, with Kristian Poulsen and Javier Villa claiming one victory apiece.
The Dane finished the first race in a brilliant fifth position, losing fourth to Tom Coronel only by inches.
"We had a great fight and lot of fun. It was a shame that in the end I was overdriving and gave him the opportunity to pass me. BMW has developed a very good car and I’m sure this will help me to be competive over the whole season," Poulsen commented.
In the second race Poulsen dropped down in a collision with fellow contryman Michel Nykjær and this handed victory to young Spaniard Javier Villa.
"It was a very good result, considering that we did not have the possibility to test before and that on Friday the team was too busy to finish my, which forced me to miss the testing. Despite all this we improved very quickly and winning the second race was a great reward to our efforts. I think we can have a very good season," said Villa.
Nykjær, Poulsen and Engstler filled the podium for Yokohama Trophy’s Race 1
WTCC TEEN-AGER SHOWS OFF HIS POTENTIAL
Pepe Oriola, the 16-year old Spaniard who joined WTCC with SUNRED Engineering showed off a great potential on his maiden races at Curitiba.
Oriola and his SEAT León TDi proved competitive from Saturday qualifying, when they missed the cut for Q2 by a mere 0.164 seconds.
On Sunday Oriola put in two solid performances in the races, finishing the first one in 13th position and the second in 10th, which also meant his first WTCC championship point, third position in the Yokohama Trophy and victory in the new Jay-Ten Trophy reserved for drivers at the wheel of cars complying with the Appendix J 2010 of the Sporting Regulations.
With these results, Oriola emerged as the first leader of the trophy, 7 and 8 points ahead of Aleksei Dudukalo and Michel Nykjær respectively.
Pepe Oriola chased by Barth and Villa during the second race at Curitiba