"What could have been" for Rob Huff in Hungary
Rob Huff returned to the Hungaroring for the second time this year this weekend, this time competing in the TCR International Series with Leopard Racing Team WRT.
The Cambridge-based driver was unable to follow-up on his pole-position winning form from last month in the World Touring Car Championship, as the weekend was one about getting to know his new, replacement Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR.
The Leopard Racing team took delivery of the brand-new car from Volkswagen Motorsport just two days before the race, after Huff’s previous car was destroyed in a 210km/h crash one week ago in neighbouring Austria. More footage of the crash is now available from the dashcam of the pursuing Opel of Grégoire Demoustier, which you can see below.
Video of Rob Huff’s Salzburging crash from pursuing car
The new car was handling well, but there was an engine power delivery issue, just as at the previous race weekend, which plagued the team throughout practice, qualifying and the first race, with the team struggling to get to the bottom of.
In spite of the issues, Huff qualified in sixth for the first race in the 26-car field, but the race only lasted two laps after he was caught in a battle with three SEAT Leóns due to his power problem. Huff then knocked the rear of Pepe Oriola’s León on lap three, damaging the radiator of his Golf, and was forced to stop on circuit before the engine overheated.
In Race 2, Huff had a great start and was battling with the leading pack into the first corner, but was spun by another SEAT of Stian Paulsen, which dropped him to 15th. Although he put on a great recovery drive at the hard-to-pass Hungaroring, Huff was only able to recover to 11th position, just outside the points.
Rob Huff said:
“It was a very unfortunate frustrating weekend on the whole. We started off with problem after problem, but by the second race, all the problems seemed to be sorted, so it’s a shame as it’s about what could have been. I think we could have been on the podium, and possibly even have won because the car was really quick, but to be turned around and dropped to 15th is so frustrating.
“Stian Paulsen unfortunately hit me after I made a really good start – I was up to P3 or P2 I’m not sure what really happened, but at the exit of Turn 1, I took a bit hit on the rear-right from Paulsen – I managed to save it, but it dropped me down to around 15th place. The car was quick, we had the fastest third sector of the race, and if we were out front we could have done really well.
“It was a shame after the issues we’d had all weekend up until then. We’ve been struggling to diagnose a power issue on the engine. The telemetry on these cars isn’t really of a very high level, so all we can do is see it, but finding out what’s causing it is hard. The basic telemetry we have is all to do with keeping costs down, which I totally understand, but as it also means we can’t find out what’s wrong, it’s very frustrating.”
TCR Hungary Race 1
1. Attila Tassi – Honda – 14 Laps
2. Norbert Michelisz – Honda – +0.865
3. Jean-Karl Vernay – Volkswagen – +1.744
4. Roberto Colciago – Honda – +12.769
5. Pepe Oriola – SEAT – +14.029
6. Daniel Lloyd – SEAT – +14.959
7. James Nash – SEAT – +22.569
8. Giacomo Altoè – Volkswagen – +25.074
9. Gianni Morbidelli – Volkswagen – +27.448
10. Mat’o Homola – Opel – +27.869
DNF. Rob Huff – Volkswagen – +12 Laps
TCR Hungary Race 2
1. Attila Tassi – Honda – 14 Laps
2. Pepe Oriola – SEAT – +1.861
3. Jens Reno Moller – Honda – +3.283
4. Giacomo Altoè – Volkswagen – +3.765
5. Roberto Colciago – Honda – +4.397
6. Norbert Michelisz – Honda – +4.980
7. Jean-Karl Vernay – Volkswagen – +5.372
8. Stian Paulsen – SEAT – +6.254
9. James Nash – SEAT – +12.055
10. Stefano Comini – Audi – +17.135
11. Rob Huff – Volkswagen – +17.400