Yvan Muller enjoyed the perfect start to his Chevrolet career, with victory at Curitiba putting him into a share of the World Touring Car Championship lead.
Following his switch from SEAT over the winter – a move which was announced shortly after the 2009 season finale in Macau – Muller put his Cruze on pole for the opening race, despite the SEAT of Norbert Michelisz running wide in front of the Chevrolet cars in the final moments of qualifying.
With race one starting behind the Safety Car due to rain, Muller was able to lead the field throughout to score a win in his first outing in Chevrolet colours ahead of team-mates Rob Huff and Alain Menu and he followed it up with fourth in race two.
The results mean the Frenchman sits joint top of the standings with former SEAT partner Gabriele Tarquini – the man he has battled for the title for the past two years.
“What can I say?” he said. “I couldn't have dreamt of a better start for the season, both for the team and myself. Race one was just perfect, from start to finish, but it wasn't as easy as it would seem, as staying on the track was really a challenge. In the early laps, you needed really to break at the right place, and not half a metre further, as Geeé, our closest rival discovered. Then, it was a matter of choosing carefully the right line and staying completely concentrated on the driving.
“In race two, I went for some good points. Towards the end, when Alain slowed a bit, I thought he may have some problems and I was ready to pass him, but then he pulled away again and we finished maintaining our positions.”
Chevrolet had previously struggled for results in Brazil but with all three drivers scoring solid points in both races, the RML-run team also leads the manufacturers' championship early on.
“We are of course delighted with today's results,” Chevrolet's Eric Neve said. “This is the best way to start the season and we are delighted to be leading both championships for the first time since we are competing in the WTCC.
“RML has done a terrific job throughout the last months and the three drivers have put together today a perfect team effort in both races.”