Huff happy to be back on the streets as the WTCC moves on to Vila Real
Castrol Honda Racing’s Rob Huff will endeavour to use his affinity for street circuits to return to the podium in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) Race of Portugal in the city of Vila Real (24-26 June).
The 2012 World Champion’s record as an eight-time winner of the Macau Grand Prix and his success on other inner-city circuits has helped his forge a reputation as a master of street tracks.
Vila Real, which has hosted motorsport events since 1931, was first added to the WTCC roster in 2015 and received high praise from all concerned for providing a fast and challenging configuration and an intoxicating atmosphere, thanks to the hordes of enthusiastic Portuguese fans and a prime mid-summer position on the calendar.
The wall-lined circuit is regarded as a halfway house between Macau’s Guia Circuit and the Nürburgring Nordschleife, with fast-flowing corners met by sharp, near-90 degree turns, but it has yet to be conquered by Huff and the ‘King of Macau’ wouldn’t mind if he found the streets of Vila Real to be paved with gold in 2016.
“I’m very happy to be back on the streets again after a difficult weekend in Moscow,” said Huff. “There is a lot of support, not only for Tiago (Monteiro), but the entire Castrol Honda Racing team in Portugal and the race weekend is positioned perfectly, with it being summer in the city and with a lot of people enjoying the climate.
“This should be the first time we haven’t had rain in the forecast since the start of the 2016 season. We’re not expecting any of the rain, thunder, lightning, floods or aquaplaning that the WTCC has become used to, so it means we can tackle the track, which boasts a few changes that have opened it up a bit.”
Huff continued: “We found in Morocco that the Honda Civic Type-R likes street circuits and, although we will be carrying a bit more weight, we know we cope well with it. Ultimately, everything comes down to qualifying because you pretty much have to rely on mistakes by other drivers to overtake in the races. Of course, the high ambient temperatures means we will be pushing on towards 70 degrees inside the car. It’s very physical, but I’m looking for a comfortable weekend and a pair of podiums would be perfect.”