Huff cautiously optimistic as he kicks off tenth consecutive FIA WTCC season
Rob Huff travels to Morocco to begin his tenth consecutive FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) season this weekend (12-13 April) and is cautiously optimistic, despite having completed relatively few pre-season testing miles with his new LADA Sport LUKOIL team.
The Race of Morocco on the Circuit Moulay El Hassan street track has been a fixture on the FIA WTCC calendar since 2009 and this time hosts the highly-anticipated 2014 season-opener.
The 4.54mile track carves its way through the southern outskirts of the majestic and colourful city of Marrakesh. Its simple layout is defined by long straights and challenging chicanes, while bumpy braking zones and the mandatory concrete walls are ready and waiting to punish the smallest of errors.
As always, ‘Huffy’ is eager to get the new FIA WTCC season underway in the Northern African country, having had an extraordinary run of success in some of the world’s most prestigious endurance races during the off-season.
However, the former World Champion from Newmarket is reluctant to set any specific targets for himself, as his LADA Sport LUKOIL team has been unable to reference its own performance against the competition, only testing its brand new LADA Granta Sport TC1 at Magny Cours in France.
“It’s difficult to ignore the lack of testing. However, we can already be certain about some things with the new Granta,” said Huff. “The car feels fast, the balance feels good, the brakes are working well, the engine feels really strong too and you can really feel the aerodynamics working on the car.
“LADA Sport LUKOIL team has done a great job and the fact we have engines from one of the best engine builders in the business, ORECA, stands us in good stead. However, while the car feels solid, we have a lot of work to do throughout the season because, having completed limited pre-season testing miles, we don’t quite understand what the car is capable of and how to optimise the setup. The very first race will give a reference point. It’s gonna be an exciting and eventful year!”
Huff added: “The Circuit Moulay El Hassan street track is deceptively difficult. With two long straights and a few chicanes, the layout looks easy on a map, but all it means is that you have very few opportunities to extract more from the circuit and your car than your competitors. The circuit is bumpy, particularly in the braking zones, the apex kerbs are huge and the concrete walls are never far away, so it’s a balancing act to maximise the corners without hitting the barriers. As a result, the track doesn’t provide a lot of overtaking opportunities, which puts the emphasis on qualifying.”
For more information on Rob Huff's racing activities, please visit the official www.robhuff.com website, 'like' his Facebook page or follow @HuffSport on Twitter.