Two podiums keep Huff very close in the title fight at halfway
Skellefteå Drive Center - 28/08/20
Race 1: 2nd
Race 2: 3rd
Race 3: 8th
Rob Huff took two podium finishes, and scored key points in a crash-filled chaotic third race at Skellefteå to hold second in the STCC TCR Scandinavia points standings at the championship's halfway point.
It was a race day all in one day for the second event of the 2020 TCR Scandinavia season, with practice and qualifying on Saturday morning, and then three races in the afternoon at the Drivecenter Arena near Skellefteå, a circuit just south of the Arctic Circle in northernmost Sweden.
In qualifying, Huff placed his Volkswagen fourth and third for the first two races, still chasing a power issue, but able to lap consistently around the 4.2km track to keep in contact with his title rivals.
Huff made up a spot at the start of Race 1 to move up to third, and then managed to pick off the Audi of Hannes Morin for second with four laps to go at Turn 14 to grab second, finishing behind Robert Dahlgren's Cupra, with the Swede having the home advantage, coming from the local town.
In Race 2, Huff held station in third at the start, and was able to stay with the leading battle, but with the power issue coming back in the middle of the race, he was unable to mount a full assault on the leading pair of Dahlgren and Tobias Brink ahead of him, and had to settle for the final spot on the podium, his fourth consecutive podium finish of the season.
The third race was almost a disaster. Starting sixth from the reversed grid race, Huff was nearly hit by Dahlgren's Cupra at the tight Turn 10 hairpin, with the PWR Racing driver slamming into Huff's team-mate Oliver Soderstrom just ahead, with Dahlgren immediately out of the race, and has been given a grid penalty for the next race for the incident.
Huff's car picked up minor damage in the incident, but a few corners later Huff was then hit by the Volkswagen of Andreas Ahlberg, which broke his front-right wheel and forced him to pit.
Rapid repairs allowed Huff to rejoin in a race where drivers were dropping out fast, and also in time to make the critical 70% race distance to score points. Despite only crossing the line eighth, Huff claimed back four points in the championship fight to hold on to second, and closed to just 12 points behind two-time champion Dahlgren going into the final six races of the season.
Rob Huff said:
"Race 1 was a good race. We've been struggling a bit with the power problem, but the team have been working hard on it, and to come away with second in this race was good. I was able to keep in touch, and got the Audi with a few laps to go at the second to last corner.
"In the second race, there was nothing I could really do about the guys in front. The power issue came back in the middle of the race and I dropped back, but come the end everything seemed to be better and I was able to close in. The car was really good otherwise, and another podium is important for the championship.
"Then, Race 3 was unfortunately quite different. It was a silly move by Dahlgren, and stupid move by Ahlberg which then ruined our race.
"Coming to the hairpin, you have to brake at 100m, and in the race Dahlgren decided he could brake at the 70m board and arrived into Oliver’s car at about 40km/h, and has probably destroyed his own chassis. I could see him in my mirrors before I braked, where he was about 10m behind me, and then I checked the mirror again as I braked and now he was just coming past me, so I just stopped the car and turned tight, but he just pinballed everyone going into the hairpin.
“On the second lap I ran a little bit wide at Turn 3, and then Ahlberg saw an opportunity and just opened the throttle and understeered straight into my front wheel and that broke the track rod. The boys did a fantastic job to get me back out to score four more points.
"So, two podiums, and a few points - considering the conditions we’ve had this weekend, we're very happy .We’ve fought to the front and scored a few good results, and we've got a nice little break now until the next one."
The next round of the 2020 STCC TCR Scandinavia championship takes place at Mantorp Park on October 2nd-3rd.
Photos: Martin Öberg