The Brit won both races on the streets of the former Portuguese enclave, bringing his personal number of successes in Macau to five, while Yvan Muller took a second and a third, showing once again all his mastery of touring car racing
Yvan Muller conquered the 2011 WTCC Drivers title, his third in total and his second at the wheel of a Chevrolet, at the end of a sensational championship finale in Macau, after Rob Huff challenged him fiercely until the very end. In an impressive show of bravura, the Brit won both races on the streets of the former Portuguese enclave, bringing his personal number of successes in Macau to five, while Yvan Muller took a second and a third, showing once again all his mastery of touring car racing.
Eventually, the two are separated by only the small margin of 3 points at the end of an exciting season that has provided a great Champion, an equally great Vice-Champion and an unprecedented string of record results (21 wins out of 24 races, and 12 pole positions in 12 events) for Chevrolet, the RML team and the new Cruze 1.6 turbo, a car and a new engine that hit the track for the first time in September 2010. Alain Menu, who also played a key role in this year’s triumphs, was the unlucky hero in Macau, as his weekend finished in lap 1 of Race 1 after being involved in a race incident he did not cause.
Race 1 was pretty stressful with a start delayed by one lap and two safety car periods in the early stages, one of them for the incident that brought Menu out of contention. Rob Huff made a good use of his pole position, keeping the advantage at the start and at the two restarts, but was permanently under Muller’s threat. Yvan attacked Rob several times at the end of the very long straight, as he was close enough to be towed, but the Brit was able to stay ahead until the chequered flag.
Race 2 only saw one safety car period. Rob Huff, who started from P3, took the lead in lap 3 after two great overtakes on Nykjær, while Muller, who was starting from P8, quickly put himself in P4, which was enough for securing the title, before passing Nykjær and finish the season on the podium.
Rob Huff (1st / 1st): “It is a very emotional moment, of course. I did everything I could to defend my chances, but it wasn’t enough. I am both disappointed to miss the objective by such a small margin and very happy of my two wins here and of my season. I finish the championship with the same number of wins and poles as Yvan and I think I have showed great consistency throughout the season, finishing all races in the points. Yvan has pushed me to the limit at all times, and here again in Race 1, and that has made me a much better driver. I congratulate Yvan, who has proved once again why he is one of the very greats of touring car racing. I want to stress the great job that the team has done and also the excellent relations we have with Yvan and Alain. Next year, we’ll be back and I already look forward to it …”
Yvan Muller (2nd / 3rd): "It’s just fantastic to be Champion again, especially after such a stressful week end here in Macau. It has been an incredible season, which started not very well for me. By mid-season, things became much better, thanks to the great work done with my engineer, Chris Cronin, and the whole team. This allowed me to progress step by step and then this thrilling finale…I knew Rob could win both races here, as he did, and that I could not take any risk. The championship could have gone either way, and I am sure Rob will win it soon. It’s a fantastic day for the entire team, and I really feel an intense and deep satisfaction.”
Alain Menu (DNF/DNS): “Obviously, not the end of the season I had dreamt of. I took a good start in Race 1, passing a couple of cars. I knew the track was quite dirty at the Mandarin bent and tried to avoid trouble. Unfortunately, Couto was touched by another car and pushed me to the outside and then hit me twice when he lost control of his car. That was the end of it as the car was quite damaged and there was not enough time in-between the races to repair it. This meant I could see both races from the pit wall and I congratulate both Yvan and Rob for their great season.”
Eric Nève: “We could not have wished a more exciting and wonderful conclusion to this exceptional season. Yvan and Rob both deserved the title, but you can have only one winner. What really pleases me is that they have given us a tremendous show and they have honored he sports by fighting fiercely and fairly. I also want to congratulate the entire team for their professionalism and for being able to prepare the cars perfectly, so that no mechanical issue would interfere in the title’s battle.”