Alain Menu and Nicola Larini ensured that the new Chevrolet Cruze will start inside the top ten on its debut in the World Touring Car Championship after both drivers made it through to the top-ten shootout in Brazil.
Although Rob Huff failed to make it through and had to settle for 13th on the grid, Menu was an impressive second quickest in the first part of qualifying while Larini was tenth to take the final slot in the shootout.
While Menu couldn't match his Q1 performance in the shootout, the Swiss ace was able to secure eighth place on the grid, despite stating he needed more time in the Cruze to fully get the most from the new package.
“Having two cars in the top ten in the Cruzes first outing is a good result,” he said. “I still find it hard to extract the best out of the Cruze, we need to know the car better, but I am pleased with today's result. We could have done even better in Q2 but it was hard to find the good slipstream. Eventually, I found some behind one of the BMWs, but the SEATs, with five cars in the track, obviously managed to make the best use of slipstreaming today.”
Larini will line-up behind Menu on the grid having posted exactly the same lap-time of 1min 24.831secs during the session.
“It's a good result for the team,” he said. “It proves the Cruze is competitive and we are on track with the changes we have made. I still feel the car lacks a little bit of stability in the fast corners, but we will continue to work on that ahead of tomorrow's races.”