Chevrolet drivers fight for last title for the team at Macau

All three of Chevrolet’s drivers have a chance of claiming the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship’s drivers’ title at the US brand’s last race as a constructor this weekend at Macau.

In the hot seat is Rob Huff, the only driver to have won two races in a day at the Guia Race of Macau since the event became a two race event as part of the WTCC in 2005. Though the qualifying rules are different this year, meaning a pair of front-row grid positions for the two races are no longer possible, Huff’s chances are the best yet going in with a 35 point lead over his nearest rival, and could become the first British WTCC champion since Andy Priaulx in 2007.

Last year, Huff went in 20 points behind team-mate Yvan Muller, whilst now Muller goes in on the offensive, as the third placed driver despite leading (or jointly) leading the championship all season long up until the last round at Shanghai, when a disastrous weekend saw the three-time champion walk away with no points from race day, and fall to 41 points behind Huff in the standings.

Muller has never won at Macau before, but nothing less than a win will do at Macau if the Frenchman stands any chance of clawing back the deficit to his team-mate.

Swiss-driver Alain Menu also has a shot at taking the drivers’ title for the first time, albeit an outside one. Menu and Huff have driven for Chevrolet since the manufacturer’s touring car programme began back in 2005, and are now the two most likely contenders to finish the year with the drivers’ title. Menu is in second place in the standings, 35 points back from Huff, which is a significant gap, and the Swiss driver will need some bad luck to finally strike the highly consistent Huff in addition to a pair of podium results at a minimum in order to wrestle the title away.

Further down the points table, Gabriele Tarquini is almost out of harms reach of Tom Coronel in the standings to be able to take the ‘best of the rest’ placing in the standings. The Italian has a 39 point gap over Coronel with just 55 points left to be had at Macau.

The entry list for the weekend is the biggest of the season, with 29 cars entered for the final round of the championship, including a number of local drivers from Macau and Hong Kong in normally aspirated Super 2000 cars.

André Couto makes his regular guest appearance, taking over the SR León 1.6T of SUNRED Engineering, previously driven by Tiago Monteiro, Hiroki Yoshimoto and Hugo Valente this season.

In the Yokohama Independents’ Trophy, it’s also a wide open fight between three drivers. Norbert Michelisz still leads the standings, despite a terrible weekend at Shanghai, with Michelisz given a drive-through penalty in race one and retiring after contact with Alex MacDowall in race two.

Michelisz’s chief rival, SUNRED Engineering’s Pepe Oriola suffered two DNFs at Shanghai, whilst Wiechers-Sport driver Stefano D’Aste took two independents’ class victories and brought himself right back in the hunt for the trophy, still in third place but just 16 points behind Michelisz, with Oriola holding on to second, 12 points behind the Hungarian, with double points available at Macau meaning there’s a maximum of 43 available.

FIA World Touring Car Championship – Guia Race of Macau Entry List

No – Driver – Team – Car
1 – Yvan Muller – FRA – Chevrolet – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
2 – Robert Huff – GBR – Chevrolet – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
3 – Gabriele Tarquini – ITA – Lukoil Racing Team – SEAT León WTCC
4 – Aleksei Dudukalo *- RUS – Lukoil Racing Team – SEAT León WTCC
5 – Norbert Michelisz * – HUN – Zengõ Motorsport – BMW 320 TC
6 – Franz Engstler* – GER – Liqui Moly Team Engstler – BMW 320 TC
7 – Charles Kaki Ng* – HKG – Liqui Moly Team Engstler – BMW 320 TC
8 – Alain Menu – SUI – Chevrolet – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
11 – Alex MacDowall* – GBR – Bamboo Engineering – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
14 – James Nash – GBR – Arena International Motorsport – Ford Focus S2000 TC
15 – Tom Coronel – NED – ROAL Motorsport – BMW 320 TC
18 – Tiago Monteiro – POR – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic Super 2000 TC
20 – Darryl O’Young* – HKG – Bamboo Engineering – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
22 – Tom Boardman* – GBR – Special Tuning Racing – SEAT León WTCC
23 – Tom Chilton – GBR – Arena International Motorsport – Ford Focus S2000 TC
25 – Mehdi Bennani* – MOR – Proteam Racing – BMW 320 TC
26 – Stefano D’Aste* – ITA – Wiechers-Sport – BMW 320 TC
46 – Kei Cozzolino* – ITA – ROAL Motorsport – BMW 320 TC
50 – Filipe de Souza* – MAC – China Dragon Racing – Chevrolet Lacetti
51 – Ng Kin Veng* – MAC – China Dragon Racing – Chevrolet Cruze LT
55 – Célio Alves Dias* – MAC – China Dragon Racing – Chevrolet Lacetti
66 – André Couto* – MAC – SUNRED Engineering – SR León 1.6T
73 – Fredy Barth* – SWI – SUNRED Engineering – SEAT León WTCC
74 – Pepe Oriola* – SPN – SUNRED Engineering – SEAT León WTCC
77 -Jo Rosa Merszei* – MAC – Liqui Moly Team Engstler – BMW 320si
78 – Mak Ka Lok* – MAC – RPM Racing Team – BMW 320si
81 – Eurico de Jesus* – MAC – Five Auto Racing Team – Honda Accord Euro R
82 – Henry Ho* – MAC – Five Auto Racing Team – BMW 320si
88 – Fernando Monje* – SPN – SUNRED Engineering – SEAT León WTCC

* Eligible for Yokohama Independents’ Trophy

WTCC Guia Race of Macau Timetable

Thursday 15th November
13:50 – 14:20 – Testing (FP0)

Friday 16th November
08:30 – 09:00 – Free Practice 1
12:15 – 12:45 – Free Practice 2
15:25 – 16:15 – Qualifying

Sunday 18th November
08:15 – 08:30 – Warm Up
11:05 – Race One (9 Laps)
12:20 – Race Two (9 Laps)

* All times MST (GMT -8 Hours, CET -7 Hours)

WTCC Guia Race of Macau Compensation Weights

Car – Weight – Breakdown
Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T – 1,200kg – 1,160 +40kg compensation weight
BMW 320 TC – 1,160kg – 1,160 base weight
SEAT León WTCC – 1,160kg – 1,150 +10kg compensation weight
Honda Accord Euro R – 1,150kg – 1,150 base weight
Chevrolet Cruze LT – 1,150kg – 1,150 base weight
Chevrolet Lacetti – 1,150kg – 1,150 base weight
SR León 1.6T – 1,150kg +20kg penalty ballast -20kg compensation
Honda Civic Super 2000 TC – 1,130kg – 1,150 -20kg compensation weight
Ford Focus S2000 TC – 1,130kg – 1,150 -20kg compensation weight
BMW 320si – 1,130kg – 1,150 -20kg compensation weight