Huff Charges to Victory in Slovakia
The 2011 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) runner-up Rob Huff returned to winning ways when the series made its debut visit to the Slovakia Ring, Slovakia, for rounds seven and eight on 29 April 2012.
Huff secured his maiden victory of 2012 in the second race at the new Eastern European circuit, bouncing back after retiring on lap one of the first race.
In qualifying, the 32-year-old found himself in an unusual position: outside the top three. Huff took seventh place on the grid following a lap time of 2:13.575, but was determined to move up the order once the first race began.
Unfortunately, on the opening lap, Huff sustained damage after contact with James Nash and ex-F1 racer Tiago Monteiro, and was forced to retire. Huff made the grid for race two with only 30 seconds to spare, after his Chevrolet team worked tirelessly to repair the car.
Huff made a great start, passing three cars through the opening two corners to take the lead. With his team-mate and reigning WTCC Champion Yvan Muller behind him, Huff then put on a strong display of defensive driving, holding the Frenchman off for the duration of the 10-lap encounter to take his first triumph of the season.
The weekend’s results mean Huff has closed the gap to Drivers’ Championship leader Muller to 27 points ahead of the series’ visit to Budapest, Hungary, on 5-6 May 2012.
"We had some bad luck in the first race today, but the team did an amazing job to get my Chevrolet Cruze ready for race two," explained Huff. "I then had the best start I think I’ve ever had, and from then on it was a case of putting the hard work in to keep Yvan behind me. Hopefully this is the first of many wins this season."
Round Seven Result (top five)
1. Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT León WTCC), 22:42.275
2. Aleksei Dudukalo (SEAT León WTCC), +2.484
3. Alain Menu (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T), +4.194
4. Alberto Cerqui (BMW 320 TC), +6.992
5. Stefano D’Aste (BMW 320 TC), +7.798
DNF. Rob Huff (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
Round Eight Result (top five)
1. Rob Huff (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T), 22:38.101
2. Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T), +2.029
3. Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT León WTCC), +2.555
4. Tom Coronel (BMW 320 TC), +8.859
5. Pepe Oriola (SEAT León WTCC), +9.352
2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship – Drivers’ Championship (top five)
1. Yvan Muller (FRA), 149 points
2. Rob Huff (GBR), 122 points
3. Alain Menu (SUI), 121 points
4. Tom Coronel (NED), 89 points
5. Gabriele Tarquini (ITA), 87 points
2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship – Manufacturers’ Championship
1. Chevrolet, 337 points
2. SEAT Customer Technology, 219 points
3. BMW Customer Racing Teams, 208 points