Huff seventh in sweltering Porto qualifying
Rob Huff, will line-up seventh and fourth for Rounds 13 and 14 of the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), following a searing qualifying session on the streets of Porto, Portugal (Saturday 29 June).
Off the back of a podium finish – his second of the year – on the WTCC’s maiden visit to Russia three weeks ago, race victories are on the agenda for Huff and his ALL-INKL.COM Munnich Motorsport team on the city centre Circuit da Boavista.
Less than six tenths of a second separated the top seven drivers in Saturday’s first free practice session. A time of 2m08.722s placed Huff in seventh and boded well for the rest of the weekend.
Searing temperatures greeted the WTCC contenders for the start of the two-part qualifying session, extended to 45 minutes to give everybody a fair crack at the whip on the narrow, wall-lined street circuit where traffic is so often an issue.
It was an all-Chevrolet affair at the top of the timesheets in Q1, the Newmarket-domiciled Huff going sixth fastest to safely graduate to the pole position shootout.
The tension continued to rise along with the temperatures as the second phase of qualifying got under way. Yvan Muller set the bar high on his first timed run, before the session was red-flagged after six minutes when the Chevrolet of Pepe Oriola slid wide into the tyre wall at Turn 2.
At the restart, a lap time of 2m06.660s from reigning Champion Huff was just three-thousandths of a second quicker than his ALL-INKL.COM-backed team-mate Marc Basseng, but proved good enough for seventh place on the Round 15 grid.
Of course, with a reversed grid situation for Round 16, Huff will start from fourth place on Sunday afternoon.
The 32-year old sees this as his best chance of a race win, given that overtaking is so limited on the Circuit da Boavista, saying: "I'm pretty pleased with the way qualifying went. I could have gone faster had I not been baulked in sector three, but would only have been third or fourth. So, while I lose out for the start of tomorrow's first race, I gain for the second. Having said that, I will have fast-starting BMWs ahead of me. They will be difficult to beat off the line, but I'm really keen to win and will put up a good fight."
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