Huff leaves Hungary with little reward after hard-fought WTCC weekend

04/05/14 Race Archive 2014

Huff leaves Hungary with little reward after hard-fought WTCC weekend

The statistics will show 11th and 12th-place finishes for Rob Huff in Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at the Hungaroring (Sunday 4 May), but the reality is that huge talent and endeavor make these results a significant achievement for the former World Champion and his LADA Sport LUKOIL team.

Huff outperformed and outraced his two teammates, James Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy, for the third time in as many rounds, putting his LADA Granta Sport TC1 in places it didn’t belong and racing on par with the proven Chevrolet Cruzes of Hugo Valente, Dusan Borkovic, Gianni Morbidelli and Rene Munnich.

This in itself demonstrates that progress has been made within the LADA Sport LUKOIL camp, although the new-for-2014 Granta remains behind its TC1 rivals in terms of outright pace and it will take a mammoth and persistent effort from the Russian team and its trio of drivers to bring the car up to scratch this season.

Having run to form in qualifying, Rob Huff found himself with a brace of 12th-place starting positions, ahead of his teammates and the TC1 Chevy’s of Munnich and Borkovic.

Huff was demoted to 13th in the initial stages of Round 5, but got his head down to push past Valente and then teammate Thompson in a decisive move for 11th.

An unscheduled pit stop for ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Chilton moved Huff into the top ten on lap seven, the Newmarket-based driver only losing a place to a hard-charging Morbidelli while lapping a second off the leaders’ pace.

Borkovic, recovering from the back of the grid, was nailed to Huff’s tail for the most part, but the Briton proved to be an immovable object, keeping his Serbian rival at bay to the flag and taking a well-earned 12th place finish.

In race two, Huff ran tight with the pack and held station in the thick of a Tom Coronel-led freight train, which stretched from fourth to 12th.

Again, Borkovic made rapid progress from the back of the field and, in a repeat of race one, was soon back underneath Huff’s rear-wing.

The Serbian battled hard and a forceful pass saw him take 11th and lead Huff home.

In a positive twist, Huff lapped within a second of Sebastian Loeb’s all-conquering Citroen and finished just 20 seconds back from eventual race winner Morbidelli.

“That was a hard weekend, but I am pleased, of course, to do the first thing that’s asked of me and beat my teammates,” said Huff. “If I can finish ahead of any other TC1 cars in the process, that’s a bonus, and I left a few in my wake this weekend. It looks like my leave has been cancelled and I’m staying on in Hungary for two days of testing and development. Hopefully, the team will find some solutions to our issues and I can fight my way into the top ten in Slovakia.

The Slovakiaring near Bratislava hosts Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) next weekend (10-11 May).

For more information on Rob Huff's racing activities, please visit the official website, 'like' his Facebook page or follow @HuffSport on Twitter.