18 May 2009
Menu pleased with first '09 win
Alain Menu admitted his delight at securing his first win of the 2009 World Touring Car Championship season after carrying Chevrolet to a fourth straight victory on the streets of Pau.
The team went into the weekend buoyed by its double win in Morocco, which marked the first victories for the new Cruze model.
While Rob Huff stormed to victory in the first race in France, Menu found himself firmly involved in the battle for points behind before he elected to drop back and secure pole for race two after crossing the line in eighth place.
From pole, the Swiss star dropped behind Franz Engstler off the start but then inherited the lead when the BMW driver was involved in a crash with the Safety Car. After the race was suspended and then restarted, Menu was able to lead from the front and withheld pressure from the BMW of Augusto Farfus to secure his first win of the campaign.
“After my unlucky weekend in Marrakech, I am really happy with this success today,” he reflected. “In race one, I fought a lot with Priaulx, then he managed to pass me, and so did Hernández in the following corner. After that, I lost some pace and focused on preserving a good position for race two.
“At the start of race two, Engstler was faster but it turned out to be good for us, because of this incredible accident with the Safety Car. At the restart, I could keep the lead and just had to worry about Farfus. He was fast but I attacked a lot to create a minimum gap between us and never gave him an opportunity to attack me. It went well and I am really happy of this second win in three years at such a great and demanding track, which I love.”
For Nicola Larini in the third Cruze, there was to be no repeat of his Marrakech success as he was forced to retire from race one with a damaged radiator, and finished outside the points in race two having been involved in a collision with Eric Cayrolle's SEAT Leon which forced the race to be stopped.
“It was not my day today, but I am very happy for the team and of the level of competitiveness that we have reached,” he admitted. “In race one, I was hit from behind at least five times, which pushed me into the car in front of me, and resulted in breaking the radiator.
“In race two, despite starting from the back, I had a good race and was hoping to get some points but one lap from the end Cayrolle, who was in front of me, hit the wall and bounced back into me. It is the kind of thing that can happen on street circuits.”
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