Huff returns to happy hunting ground in Marrakesh for Round 2 of FIA WTCC
Rob Huff returns to one of his most successful hunting grounds this weekend for the second round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at Marrakesh’s Circuit Moulay El Hassan (17-19 April), where he will be seeking to collect as much data as possible in the all-new LADA SPORT ROSNEFT Vesta TC1.
Moving from the first to the second slot on this year’s WTCC calendar, the Circuit Moulay El Hassan street circuit is a temporary facility in the heart of the Agdal district of Marrakesh, and with its long straights and tight corners lined with concrete barriers, there is no margin for error.
Following two DNFs in Argentina, Huff will be looking to make amends while putting as many miles as possible on the new-for-2015 Vesta.
The Marrakesh street circuit is a happy hunting ground for the 2012 FIA WTCC Champion, who has recorded five podium finishes and most notably completed a hat-trick by securing pole position, a race win and the fastest racing lap in 2009.
Huff, who piloted an eclectic array of classic racecars as part of the 73rd Goodwood Members’ Meeting shortly after returning home from Argentina, has been working flat-out fettling the new TC1-spec Vesta, which is still in the early stages of development.
The Russia-based LADA SPORT outfit will be seeking to collect as much data as possible this weekend from all three cars driven by Huff and teammates James Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy, after testing at Portugal’s Portimao circuit didn’t quite go to plan due to technical difficulties.
The Newmarket-based driver remains positive following the Vesta’s strong showing in Argentina, but is aware that a calm and collected approach to this weekend will help further the car’s development.
“We learnt a lot about the LADA Vesta TC1 in Argentina and found a few things that we can put right and develop further, and the fact that we were P1 in free practice shows the car has great pace,” said Huff. “It certainly feels fast, but we need to be careful this weekend, as a small error could see you in trouble. We need to know when to attack and when to ease off in order to collect as much data as possible from all three cars.
“It’s still very much a development year for the LADA SPORT ROSNEFT team. Our testing programme in Portimao didn’t quite go to plan, as technical difficulties hampered running. It opened up a side of the car that needs developing, which is what testing is all about, but with the running we did do, we collected a lot of vital data.
Huff continued: “I have a good history with the Circuit Moulay El Hassan, having stood on the podium there on a number of occasions, notably winning the first ever race in 2009. It’s going to be a warm weekend, not as warm as Argentina, but it will still be tough on both car and driver. Hopefully we can come away with some strong results.”
Qualifying for Round 3 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at Marrakesh’s Circuit Moulay El Hassan is scheduled to get underway at 12.30 local time on Saturday (18 April, and this will be followed up by the weekend’s two races at 16.15 and 17.30 on Sunday (19 April).
For more on Rob Huff's racing activities, please visit the official www.robhuff.com website, 'like' his Facebook page or follow @HuffSport on Twitter.