Muller and Huff take the wheel, Cruze sports 2012 livery
VALENCIA: With the start of the 2012 WTCC season barely a month away, the Chevrolet team has taken to the track at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo near Valencia for the final winter test session.
Reigning champion Yvan Muller and teammate Rob Huff are putting the Cruze through its paces ahead of the first races scheduled for Monza on 11 March. Alain Menu, who tested in Valencia some weeks ago, is working with his team mates and the engineers. The tests run today and tomorrow.
While most of Europe is covered in snow and ice, weather conditions in eastern Spain are ideal, with sunny and dry conditions although windy and cooler than usual. This should allow the RML team to carry the entire work program foreseen for the two days, essentially aimed at validating the 2012 Cruze configuration and specs.
The two Cruzes are also showing off their 2012 livery for the first time, a design characterized by a more prominent presence of the blue color which has become synonymous with Chevrolet in the WTCC.
A third Cruze, which Rickard Rydell will use to defend his title in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship (STCC), was also involved in testing at the Valencia track this morning. The Cruze is run by Chevrolet Motorsport Sweden’s team Nika Racing.
Yvan Muller: “It’s nice to be at the wheel of a race car again and I’m happy we have good track conditions. Today was mostly a day for the engineers as they wanted us to test and compare a number of things. I am anxious to get back to racing soon. ”
Rob Huff: “I think that by tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, we will have covered considerable mileage, and this is exactly what drivers need and engineers want at this time of the year. Although there aren’t striking differences between this year’s and last year’s cars, the team has been working a lot during the winter and the Cruze feels very good to drive.”
Alain Menu: “Working with the team, Yvan and Rob is certainly very useful. This year, I’ll be working with a new engineer, Phil Barker, who already has a great deal of experience with touring cars as he was involved in RML’s BTCC program; so it was important for the two of us to be here.”
Ron Hartvelt: “The start of the season is around the corner and it’s important to have this kind of final rehearsal. We wanted to try out minor changes, mainly concerning suspensions and the cooling system, before clearing the 2012 specs of the car. Everything is running smoothly and we are satisfied with the information gathered.”