Race Archive 2013
Its Huff Vs. Muller 2013, as battle recommences in WTCC Marrakesh
In 2011 it was Yvan Muller who pipped Rob Huff to the FIA World Touring Car Championship on the last lap in Macau, and in 2012 it was Huff who took revenge in the final race at the same venue to win his maiden world championship, but then they were teammates and now they are rivals in different machinery.
Muller remaining in his all conquering RML run Chevrolet Cruze and Huff in an aging Seat Leon WTCC run by newcomers to the World Touring Car Championship, All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport.
Judging by the 0.024 of a second that separated them at the line in Race 1 of the Marrakesh Morocco round 2 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, there is little that can compensate for a reining World Champion in a well run outfit as the Brit punched well above his weight to mix it not only with Muller but the other Chevrolets and Works Honda’s to finish a creditable 5th.
It was a textbook performance from Huff, drawing on all his experience to move into 4th from the rolling starting position of 7th, taking advantage of his rivals around him’s best efforts to fall over each other. For the next 4 laps Huff held perfect lines and kept the 5th placed Muller behind him despite the best efforts of the Frenchman to push past at every opportunity. Huff, hanging onto the rear bumper of Nash in another Chevrolet Cruze ahead pressed hard but at the hairpin on lap 5 Muller made a move to the inside and Huff, running wide nearly lost out to McDowell behind as he dropped back to 5th.
Not done yet Huff put in a huge effort to close back up to Muller and pull away from MacDowell setting the fastest race lap at that point as the race was neutralized for an accident involving Portuguese Monteiro in his Factory Honda Civic.
The 11 lap race remained under safety car conditions until lap 9 and at the restart just 2 laps remained for Huff to fight back. Hanging onto Muller and pulling clear of MacDowell once more the two battled until the final corner where Huff gained the better exit to move alongside as they crossed the line side by side, the clock being the only means to separate them.
Huff was encouraged by the result; “I’m glad to show that I am able to compete with my old teammate once again, it was hugely satisfying for me to race so closely with Yvan in the Seat, particularly as we have been struggling with an engine problem all weekend” he said. ‘Starting ahead of the Chevrolets in race 2 should give us an excellent chance of an even better result”
Race 2 is the standing start and Huff lined up 4th behind 3 rival Seat Leon WTCC machines benefiting from the reverse grid from Qualification. “The key will be to get a good start and get some Leons between me and the 5 Chevrolets lining up behind” A gameplan that was working nicely as the lights went green and Huff immediately used his front wheel drive experience and passed team mate Bessang for 3rd place.
Knowing the importance to move forward quickly Huff created a gap on the inside of Monje which was going to require the co operaion of the Spaniard if the move was to come off. With tyres smoking under braking and the black and red machine of Huff alongside, the Spaniard refused to yield and the Champion was edged into the concrete wall damaging the car and ending Huffs race.
“Obviously I am disappointed not to have made the podium, I think we had a good shot at winning the race” lamented Huff. “ The next round in Slovakia should suit the Seat Leon WTCC more so I am hopeful we can build on the hard work of my All-Inkl.com team and be even more competitive”
Round 3 of the FIA World Championship take place at the Slovakia Ring in Bratislava in 2 weeks time on the 27th/28th April 2013.
For more information on Rob Huff, please like his Facebook page, or alternatively you can follow @Huffsport on Twitter.