Huff Crowned World Champion
Rob Huff claimed his first FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) title in the final race of the season at the Circuito da Guia, Macau, on 18 November 2012. The Brit took his points total to 413 at the finale, putting him 12 points ahead at season close.
The Newmarket racing driver went into the weekend 35 points ahead of his closest rival and team-mate Alain Menu, and set the pace in qualifying. Huff’s fastest lap of 2:29.422 secured him pole position for the first race and an additional five points in his championship quest.
In race one fellow Chevrolet driver and 2011 WTCC Champion Yvan Muller started alongside Huff and took the lead. On Lap 4 Huff outbraked Frenchman Muller to head the field; however, he hit the barriers at Pariol and was forced to retire to repair damages. Muller and Swiss pilot Menu claimed the two top spots, reducing the standings gap to just 17 points.
Huff started the second race from ninth, with his title rivals locking out the row ahead. With the Swiss and French pairing working their way through the field, Huff gave chase. He climbed his way up the order to a title-winning fourth place, before two safety car periods. In the closing laps Huff continued his charge to second place, crossing the line behind Menu to secure a podium finish and his maiden world title.
“I’m speechless. I think it will take quite a while to sink in,” said Huff. “It has been an emotional weekend and an amazing day, especially considering that I nearly spoiled everything with my incident in the first race. Obviously in between the races I was a bit tense, but I still had a good margin of points and I knew that all I needed to do was to finish no lower than sixth. It was just a matter of staying focused and not making another mistake.
“I’ve put everything into this season: I’ve trained hard, and when I’ve not been in the gym I have been with the team or in a simulator. I think it’s this determination and the fantastic work of the team that’s made this season a success. A huge thank you goes out to everyone in the team, not only for getting me back out on track this weekend, but for their efforts throughout the year to make this another winning season.
“I’m delighted to be able to take the world championship title back to the UK in a year that’s been so successful for British sport.”
Huff is the first British driver to secure the FIA WTCC title since Andy Priaulx won the championship back in 2007. His and his team-mates’ success in Macau resulted in a final points total of 1,025 for the manufacturer, which after eight years in the championship will no longer have a presence in the WTCC in 2013. During that time the team has secured both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in three years, and a total of 68 race wins.
Following his triumphant season, Huff will be appearing at motorsport show Autosport International on 12-13 January 2012 at the Birmingham NEC, where fans will have the opportunity to hear him discuss his extraordinarily close season finale first hand.