Huff pushes on in WTCC qualifying at Paul Ricard
Rob Huff pushed his LADA Sport LUKOIL Granta TC1 to the maximum in qualifying for Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at Circuit Paul Ricard, but just came up short of Q2 in 13th position.
Qualifying at the famous French venue proved to be a frustrating affair for the 2012 WTCC Champion and his LADA Sport LUKOIL teammates, James Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy.
Despite making progress with the new TC1-spec Granta in free practice, the pace was ultimately not enough to break out of the top 12 and into Q2 for the first time, although the signs are encouraging moving forwards.
Warm and dry conditions remained constant throughout free practice and qualifying.
This provided Huff with an opportunity to begin developing the new-for-2014 Granta from a solid baseline and understand its strengths and weaknesses, with the view of pushing the flourishing Russian team further up the grid, just like the LADA Sport LUKOIL hierarchy employed the former World Champion to do.
Huff, on his first visit to Paul Ricard, quickly learnt the track and was soon able to post a time of 1m32.0s in free practice, which proved to be the limit of the car’s pace.
The time was mirrored twice more during the OCC LASIK-backed racer’s official qualifying runs, but was only good for 13th overall – one place short of progression into Q2 – ahead of his teammates Thompson and Kozlovsky, who both hit problems.
“Actually, I am quite pleased with what we have achieved “said the OCC LASIK and Ryan Insurance-supported Huff. “The team is closer to the other TC1 cars than it was in Morocco one week ago and I really expected the gap to be bigger, given the nature of the track and the amount of testing the others have undertaken here. The team is working well and I got the maximum from the car that was possible. You can only work with what you have after all, and what we have is getting better.”
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