Text: Jet Rabe / Photos: Jet Rabe | posted November 26, 2012 14:37
2012 FIA WTCC Rounds 23-24, Macau Guia Circuit
It was a dominating year once again for the RML engineered Chevrolet team as it dominated its final season in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. The team earlier announced that they will not continue after the 2012 season. British driver Rob Huff, who came to Macau as the driver's championship leader managed to clinch his first WTCC championship in the final leg of the series at the challenging Guia Circuit. Huff led the Chevrolet team's sweep in qualifying with Yvan Muller and Alain Menu qualifying in second and third, respectively. Norbert Michelisz wins the Yokohama Driver's trophy.
Despite starting from pole, an unfortunate crash happened with a daring maneuver by the race leader in his eagerness to wrap up the championship. Teammates Muller and Menu took the opportunity to reduce the championship gap with a 1-2 finish. Tiago Monteiro meanwhile, drove a consistent race in third to score the first podium for the Honda Civic, a month after the Honda-JAS Motorsport team joined the championship. In the Yokohama Trophy, Macau driver Darryl O'Young bagged the win.
Before the second race, Huff leads by 17 points ahead of Muller and 19 ahead of Menu. So it was to be a tight battle for the championships between the three teammates. There were definitely no team orders for the Chevrolet team as the trio continued on at their own pace trying to outdo each other.
The narrow streets of Macau provided the stage for a dramatic race with three major crashes that result in the deployment of the safety car twice due to the string of events that eliminated Alex MacDowall, Norbert Michelisz, and Pepe Oriola. The situations worked to the advange of Huff who was able to slide into second place behind teammate Menu, while Muller followed behind closely. Monteiro maintained a safe pace in fourth aboard his Honda Civic behind the Chevrolet team who finished their final season in style with a clean sweep of the podium. O'Young finished just behind the four in fifth to make a sweep of the Yokohama Trophy, but the championship points were still stacked in favor of Norbert Michelisz.
It was a great eight-year run for Team Chevrolet further extending their team championship with their top three drivers on the podium in the Macau race and the Rob Huff in the driver's championship. Tiago Monteiro gave Honda a solid performance during the weekend trailing behind the Chevrolets giving a slight preview of the 2013 season.