Rob Huff second in standings after stellar start in Sweden
Gelleråsen Arena - 15/08/20
Race 1: 4th
Race 2: 2nd
Race 3: 3rd
Rob Huff had a sensational start to the 2020 STCC TCR Scandinavia season at the Gelleråsen Arena near Karlskoga, with the Lestrup Racing Team driver leaving the circuit second in the drivers' standings, after two podiums and a fourth place - bouncing back from qualifying onwards after technical issues hampered him in practice.
Racing at Sweden's oldest circuit (built in 1949) for the first time in his career, Huff struggled with a lack of top speed in practice on Saturday morning, which caused the team change both the gearbox and the engine in the short two-hour window ahead of qualifying, where after one lap the Briton put the car on provisional pole.
Huff ultimately qualified second behind his team-mate Oliver Söderström, but this was still a highly satisfactory result given the issues which had plagued the team in pre-season testing and practice.
In Race 1, Huff dropped three spots at the start which didn't make it easy - but the touring car star worked his way back up the order to finish second by the chequered flag, before he was given a five-second penalty for minor contact which dropped him back to fourth - if it wasn't for this penalty, Huff would now be leading the championship.
In Race 2, Huff made a much better start and sat behind the Cupra of reigning champion Robert Dahlgren the whole race, trying to find away past the two-time champion who has much more experience, having raced at this circuit for 17 years in touring cars.
Huff crossed the line just two-tenths behind Dahlgren, but was ultimately satisfied with his second-place finish.
The top eight were reversed for Race 3, which gave Rob the chance to fight his way through the pack - and that he did, working his way from seventh to third to score another podium for the Lestrup Racing Team, ensuring they lead the teams' championship. With both drivers 1-2 in the drivers' classification, it was a solid start to Huff's new campaign in Sweden.
Rob Huff said:
"I'm very pleased with this weekend. The guys have been working 24 hours a day for two weeks as we've had a few issues. The engine we put in just before qualifying is our fifth engine with this car. It was such a relief when were able to put two quick laps in and get it onto P2 on the grid.
"As for the races, what a day. It's been a fantastic day not only for myself, but for my team-mate Oliver as well - and it's all thanks to the amazing work done by the team.
"In the second race, I think if we had a couple of more laps I could have got Robert (Dahlgren) for the win, but I'm still over the moon with the result, and then in Race 3, that was a lot of fun. The reversed grid is what touring car racing is all about, and I was able to work with Oliver to make my way through, knowing he had my back but that he was also close enough to follow me through when I made some moves.
"I'd like to say a big thank you to Lestrup Racing Team for all their hard work. They've done a brilliant job with this car - the set up and the handling of this car is the best I've ever felt.
"Next is Skellefteå, another new circuit. This is all new to me, but I'm having a lot of fun. I've been really nicely welcomed into the championship, and am really looking forward to the next one."
The next round of the 2020 STCC TCR Scandinavia championship takes place at the Drivecenter Arena, near Skellefteå in northern Sweden, on August 28th-29th.
Photos: Martin Öberg