WTCC » 9 March 2009
Pace but no points for Cruze on debut
Nicola Larini has vented his displeasure at being penalised from a fifth place finish in the first World Touring Car race of the season in Brazil, the Italian saying it ruined an otherwise promising debut for the new Chevrolet Cruze.
Larini provided a star turn in the opening race of the weekend at Curitiba when he hauled his new car to a fifth place finish on its debut, behind only the dominant four-strong SEAT line-up.
However, the Italian and the team's joy was short-lived when Larini was given a 30-second penalty for pulling out of line during a safety car restart.
Dropping him towards the back of the field, Larini was furious to have lost out, arguing that the cars in front were going too slowly for him to do anything other than pull to the side.
“I am really infuriated for the sanction after race one,” he said. “I had a great race. At the start, I stayed on the right side of the track, where I knew there would be less problems, and got clear of the incident that stopped Alain.
“The car was really good in the fast corners, I kept the seventh position without any trouble and then managed to gain two positions, to finish fifth, a very good result for the Cruze's first race. I do not understand the penalty I got for the restart, as Monteiro was extremely slow and Farfus and I could only pull over to avoid contact. In Race 2, I struggled as I had a set-up for dry conditions.”
Team-mate Alain Menu saw his hopes of a good result end at the second corner when he was involved in a collision with Andy Priaulx and Jorg Muller.
“It is a frustrating result because we deserved much better, but this is racing. In Race 1, I hadn't the start that I wanted and when we got to turn 4, Monteiro hit me, causing a pile- up also involving Jörg Müller and Priaulx.
“My race ended there and the bodywork of the car got damaged. Despite that, in Race 2, the car was very good and got better lap after lap, allowing me to finish 11th and recording the fastest lap at the end of the race.”
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