Chevrolet drivers Rob Huff, Alain Menu and Nicola Larini are confident the new Cruze can spring a surprise in the latest round of the World Touring Car Championship following a promising, if ultimately unfulfilling, bow in Brazil.
All three drivers showed good pace at Curitiba, although a combination of reliability, bad luck and penalties left both the drivers and the team well outside the points.
Nonetheless, the Puebla circuit in Mexico has been renowned for unpredictable results in the past, while it was also the scene of Chevrolet's first ever WTCC points back in 2005. The team are now hoping to replicate that with the Cruze around the circuit that Huff describes as 'peculiar'
“We can face the Puebla event with some confidence. The new Cruze showed a good level of performance in its debut in Brazil and I believe we can move things forward in Mexico, where we were competitive last year.
“This said, Puebla is always a peculiar track, where track conditions may change very quickly. Sometimes, the track gets very greasy and it's almost like driving on ice. Finding a good balance will be key, but I think we have the potential to do well.”
Larini, meanwhile, is still reeling from the penalty that he received in Curitiba, one that prevented him from holding onto the fourth place he managed on the car's debut. However, he says he is channelling that anger into performing just as well in Mexico.
“I still have to come to terms with the sanction inflicted to me in the first race in Brazil, as I think it was totally unjustified, and it deprived us of 5 well-deserved points. Still, this is motivating me even further ahead of Puebla.
“Last year, I was in first row and clinched a podium finish, so I hope to be able to do as well, although Puebla remains a very particular track. Qualifying well will be important: the new qualifying format does not change things much, although I believe teams with more cars are slightly advantaged.”
“Letting aside the result, I am happy with the behaviour of the Cruze in Brazil,” Menu added. “Most importantly, we have learnt a lot about the car during this first race week-end and we made substantial progress in setting up the car.
“Puebla should suit us even better, as it is a track with fewer straights. It would be nice if we can get closer to the diesel cars, but my first objective will be to score some good points.”