Rob Huff ends the year on a high with second in the final WTCC race of 2017
Losail, Qatar - 01/12/17
Race 1: 7TH
Race 2: 2ND
Rob Huff followed up his sensational weekend in Macau with a podium finish and an independents’ class victory in the final race of the 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship in Qatar, as the Briton now heads into the winter break with a number of options ahead of him for 2018.
The Cambridge-based driver’s Citroën had been saddled with an additional 60kg of compensation weight due to its success two weeks’ ago at the Macau Grand Prix, which made things a little difficult in qualifying, but the Briton was able to put the ALL-INKL Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée third on the grid, just four-thousandths of a second behind the Volvo of Nicky Catsburg.
In the reversed grid Opening Race, Huff battled with former team-mate and title rival Yvan Muller throughout the race, but there were no passing opportunities with the cars so evenly matched.
In the Main Race, Huff blasted past Catsburg for second position off the line and raced his Citroën to second position and victory in the independents’ class, sealing second overall in the classification in a competitive year in which Huff said the results could have been better with less troubles and back luck.
Huff now looks ahead to 2018, with the WTCC soon to announce its new format and technical regulations, while also looking to race again in both the British and China Touring Car Championships as he did this year.
The first confirmed programme however, matches with Huff’s love of historic racing, as he’ll race in the new Le Mans Classic for historic cars, racing Paul Newman’s Spice SE89P, which has recently been bought by friend and racer Richard Meins, and will also race at the Goodwood Revival and Members’ Meeting next year.
Rob Huff said:
“This was a really good result for us. I made a good move on Nicky and made sure I made is stick. Normally I wouldn’t be quite as strong as that on the exit, but I wanted the place and I made sure I got it and of course his job was to protect Thed (Björk), so I knew he wouldn’t fight me too hard.
“On reflection, this has been a season of what could have been. We weren’t ultimately in a position to win it, but on paper we should have done a lot better than we have.
“In five rounds, we’ve had problems, either by me, the team, or just bad luck, and somehow we’ve still managed to be here with a chance of winning something with the independents’ title just in reach.
“A huge thanks to the team, all the boys and to the boss, René Münnich. It’s a shame we don’t get to do it again next year with these cars, because we’ve learned so much with this car throughout the year.
“On the whole, we’ve finished on a high with a win in Macau, and a second here. My ninth victory in Macau was obviously the highlight of the season, and a front-wheel drive lap record that might never be broken at least any time soon.
“I’d like to say huge congratulations to Thed (Björk), the new champion. It’s a great feeling to be a world champion and it’s something that I know absolutely changes your life. Also, commiserations to Norbi (Norbert Michelisz), he’s a good friend, and a worthy champion. It’s been a very close year.
“I’m already working on programmes for next year. The first historic Classic Le Mans, and the Goodwood Revival and Members’ Meeting in Paul Newman’s 89 Spice.
“Things are looking good for me to be racing in the world championship again next year with the way it’s going, and I’m also looking at options in the British Touring Car Championship, and will most certainly be involved in the China championship again as well.”
WTCC Qatar Qualifying
1. Esteban Guerrieri – Honda – 2:00.893
2. Nicky Catsburg – Volvo – +0.414
3. Rob Huff – Citroën – +0.418
4. Thed Björk – Volvo – +0.664
5. Yvan Muller – Volvo – +1.000
WTCC Qatar Main Race
1. Esteban Guerrieri – Honda – 12 Laps
2. Rob Huff – Citroën – +3.708
3. Nicky Catsburg – Volvo – +7.319
4. Thed Björk – Volvo – +7.466
5. Tom Chilton – Citroën – +8.785
6. Kris Richard – Chevrolet – +10.589
7. Yvan Muller – Volvo – +11.459
8. Norbert Michelisz – Honda – +12.023
9. John Filippi – Citroën – +15.942
10. Ryo Michigami – Honda – +22.140
WTCC Qatar Opening Race
1. Tom Chilton – Citroën – 10 Laps
2. Mehdi Bennani – Citroën – +2.175
3. Kevin Gleason – Lada – +6.178
4. John Filippi – Citroën – +7.054
5. Thed Björk – Volvo – +7.571
6. Yvan Muller – Volvo – +7.945
7. Rob Huff – Citroën – +8.577
8. Nicky Catsburg – Volvo – +9.248
9. Norbert Michelisz – Honda – +9.537
10. Esteban Guerrieri – Honda – +10.304