Chevrolet driver Alain Menu believes the team won’t be able to repeat their performance from the opening round at next weekend’s race meeting at Valencia, when considering the weight difference and the expected tyre degradation for front-wheel drive cars at the Spanish circuit.
Last weekend triple champion Yvan Muller won both races at Monza with Chevrolet completing a lock out of the podium in race two. Last season at Valencia, which took place much later in the season in September, Muller again won both races with the Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T, though the cars then were just 20kg heavier than their closest rivals BMW.
This year at Valencia, thanks to the 10kg increase in base weight this season for Chevrolet and the 10kg decrease for BMW, the weight difference between the two marques will be 40kg, whilst the teams running SEAT Leóns will be 50kg lighter than the Chevrolets over the weekend.
“I expect Valencia to be especially challenging this year, given the weight we carry,” said Menu. “I don’t think we can really aim at winning, but it is true that in the past we have obtained much better results than initially hoped. I like the track, but it is not one of my favorites. It is very technical with a lot of braking where you can easily make small mistakes.”
Yvan Muller echoed Menu’s sentiments, recalling the incidents late in race which ruled out BMW drivers Tom Coronel, Javier Villa and Norbert Michelisz from contention for the race victory:
“Last year, three BMWs were ahead of us towards the end of Race 2 and we only won because they committed some sort of collective suicide in the last couple of corners. I am sure we can be competitive over one lap, but in the races, it will be more complicated and we’ll have to do everything possible to save the tyres for the closing laps.”