Rob Huff battles back to help out in the championship battle in Thailand
Rob Huff put on two strong performances in Thailand at the Chang International Circuit to score points, after a set-up problem left him mired in the midfield for the start of both races. As a consequence, Huff was able to help team-mate Jean-Karl Vernay’s championship charge, with the Frenchman just two points behind the points leader going to the next race in China.
The Leopard Racing Team WRT squad had a hard task ahead of them before they even arrived in Thailand, as they had to spent the first two days repairing the car, after the wreckage of the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR from the shunt in Germany two months’ ago, when Huff was hit in the rear, had to be shipped to China, as there was no time to repair it beforehand.
The Thailand circuit was less suited to the Golf, with Vernay putting on a strong showing by qualifying in fourth, but a problem with the set-up equipment meant Huff’s car was out of shape in qualifying, and the former World Champion was unable to qualify any higher than 16th.
In spite of this, Huff managed to fight his way through to finish in fifth in Race 1, after a number of close battles in a very busy race, crossing the line just behind team-mate Vernay, and crucially ahead of one of Vernay’s chief rivals, Stefano Comini, to take points from him in the championship fight.
It was more of the same in Race 2, as Huff worked his way up to eighth in a slightly less eventful race.
Vernay now crucially stays in touch in the championship battle going to the next round at Zhejiang in China on October 17th, while Huff has a busy itinerary before then in Europe, competing in historic racing cars at the Goodwood Revival and the Spa Six Horus, before a three-week trip in Asia, racing in the International, Chinese and World Touring Car Championships.
Rob Huff said:
“The most important thing today was that in Race 1 I got up behind JK (Vernay) and stopped (Stefano) Comini from scoring some points. The car has been fantastic today; both JK and I found the sweet spot, and we’re quick in the corners, but we’re not quick enough on the straight to make something of it, and that’s where it gets really tough.
“I overtook at least 16 people this weekend, and we’ve got no damage on the cars so the guys can have a bit of a rest when they arrive in China. With JK qualifying P4, from 16th I never thought from I’d see him in either race, but thankfully I did, and stopped people scoring points against him, which is why I’m here.
“Then next weekend I’m racing two CUT 7 Engineering E-Types with Richard Meins at the Goodwood Revivial and an Austin A40, and at Goodwood next weekend, and then the weekend after that in the Spa Six Hours, also with Richard Meins in a Ford GT40 with Chris Lillingston Price, then I’ll have a weekend off before my month in China.
“I’ll have four races in China in three weekends; two in the China Touring Car Championship, one World Touring Car Championship and one TCR. All three are also new tracks so it’s a fresh piece of paper for everyone. Wuhan’s (for CTCC) is a street circuit, Zhejiang for TCR and then I’ll go to Ningbo and race in both the WTCC and CTCC. Chinese tracks tend to be quite small and quite tight, so I think they’ll suit the Volkswagen, both my TCR Golf and the CTCC Lamando, and Ningbo should also be a good track for my ALL-INKL.COM Racing Citroën C-Elysée in the WTCC as well, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
TCR International Series – Thailand Race 1
1. Norbert Michelisz – Honda – 14 Laps
2. Dusan Borkovic – Alfa Romeo – +3.769
3. Attila Tassi – Honda – +5.923
4. Jean-Karl Vernay – Volkswagen – +6.211
5. Rob Huff – Volkswagen – +6.428
6. Giacomo Altoè – Honda – +7.358
7. Stefano Comini – Audi – +10.610
8. Davit Kajaia – Alfa Romeo – +11.142
9. Daniel Lloyd – SEAT – +14.196
10. Gianni Morbidelli – Volkswagen – +15.050
TCR International Series – Thailand Race 2
1. Aurélien Panis – Honda – 14 Laps
2. Giacomo Altoè – Honda – +1.274
3. Stefano Comini – Audi – +6.120
4. Attila Tassi – Honda – +7.994
5. Jean-Karl Vernay – Volkswagen – +9.414
6. Dusan Borkovic – Alfa Romeo – +12.632
7. James Nash – SEAT – +13.369
8. Rob Huff – Volkswagen – +13.861
9. Mat’o Homola – Opel – +18.084
10. Kantadhee Kusiri – Volkswagen – +18.830