Huff expects a rocky road at Austria's Salzburgring
Former Champion Rob Huff says he has a mountain to climb if he’s to score meaningful points for his LADA Sport LUKOIL team in Rounds 9 and 10 of the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) on Austria’s ultra-high speed and picturesque Salzburgring (24-25 May).
The superfast Salzburgring is nestled among beautiful surroundings inside a narrow alpine gorge approximately 15km East of the charming city of Salzburg, which has a rich history and is most commonly known for being the birthplace of legendary composer and musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The circuit places the emphasis on both engine performance and aerodynamic efficiency, as a significant chunk of the lap is spent at full throttle in sixth gear and slipstreaming is extremely effective; drivers will be seen jostling for the perfect tow in an attempt to boost their qualifying times and pull off overtakes.
Fifth place in the WTCC’s Race of Hungary remains ‘Huffy’s’ best finish in what has been a particularly trying start to the season, although the Newmarket-domiciled racer has been full of praise for his LADA Sport LUKOIL team and its recent efforts to bridge the gap to the competition.
The determined Russian outfit began development work on its new-for-2014 LADA Granta Sport TC1s in earnest at the Hungaroring, before embarking on three more days of testing at the Slovakia Ring (13-15 May).
Torrential rain and strong winds battered the Eastern European track and delayed the team’s testing programme, but Huff was more than satisfied with what was achieved.
However, the 2012 WTCC Champion carries low expectations to the Salzburgring, well aware that the circuit’s high-speed nature is likely to expose some of the LADA Granta Sport’s weaknesses.
“LADA Sport LUKOIL had a test programme to work through and we didn’t quite complete it, but we tried some potential new upgrades for the Granta TC1 that have yet to be signed off,” said Huff. “The team is very much trying to extract the most from the car and those at the top are working hard to deliver new development parts. The car will be as it was in Slovakia for the WTCC’s Race of Austria and this is going to be perhaps the toughest circuits for us.
“The car’s weak spot is on the high-speed stuff, so I don’t have high expectations. Having said that, the rain is in the forecast and we are certainly capable of matching the Chevrolets and Hondas in wet conditions.”
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.