Yvan Muller is targeting a successful start to his career as a Chevrolet driver as he prepares for the opening round of the 2010 World Touring Car Championship in Brazil.
Having jumped ship from SEAT to replace the retired Nicola Larini in the three-man Chevrolet team, the 2008 champion has spent the winter becoming better acquainted with the petrol-engined Cruze.
Muller is keeping his expectations modest for the season opener in Curitiba though, the Frenchman expecting to see a substantial amount of progress from his rivals too.
“The time has come to start a new season and to make my debut at the wheel of a Chevrolet, so I am really keen to be in Curitiba! This will also be the first real opportunity to see where the competition stands. Personally, I am convinced that everybody has progressed, but we need to see how big a step forward has been made by each manufacturer.
“Although these questions are quite usual at this time of the year, my inner feeling is that it will be a very competitive and close championship, as in previous years. I think we should be OK in Curitiba, but much will depend on qualifying and also on how well we will play with slip streaming, always a crucial factor in Curitiba.”
Veteran touring car driver Alain Menu is also hoping for a good start to the season, even if his foremost target is to stay out of trouble.
“I am reasonably optimistic ahead of this 2010 season. Last week's test in Valencia has definitely convinced me that we have made good progress with the Cruze during the winter and that the car is now in a position to be consistently competitive throughout the season and on all types of tracks.
“My personal goal is to be on the podium in Curitiba, I think it's an achievable goal. Last year we were second-fastest in Q1 there and Curitiba is a circuit I like, although changing weather conditions are sometime an issue. My biggest hope, though, is to be able to go unscathed through the first corner, contrarily to last year!
“In truth, my biggest wish for 2010 is to have more fair-play on the track and not live again what I had to endure in 2009, when in 12 out of 24 races I fell victim of other competitors.”