Cool and not-so-cool moves: Huff’s mixed fortunes in WTCR
Rob Huff went from pulling off one of the overtaking moves of the season to the frustration of a crash and a non-start at WTCR Race of Germany.
Having gone fastest in Free Practice 1, Huff’s visit to the Nüburgring Nordschleife for the fifth event of the 2019 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO took another turn for the better when he qualified second for Race 3.
Although his stunning double pass for third position in Race 1 didn’t deliver a deserved podium, he was firmly in contention for more points in Race 2 until contact with Gabriele Tarquini forced him to retire, while the damage done to his SLR VW Motorsport Golf GTI TCR was too severe for the Briton to take up his front-row start in Race 3.
“The first race was really fun,” said the 2012 FIA World Touring Car champion. “It was a little tough at the start, as Yvan Muller didn’t give me any room at Turn 2, but we came out of it okay.
“The car felt good, we didn’t have the same straight-line speed as the rest, but we had great pace in the corners, and it was great to be fighting back at the front of the field.
“At Döttinger Höhe, it was a really cool move with Néstor [Girolami] and Fred [Vervisch]. I gained about 15kph in their slipstream alone and took third, but then on the next lap Néstor hit [me] twice unnecessarily, which isn’t like him.”
Huff started Race 2 on Saturday with hopes of more progress only for the clash with Tarquini to dictate otherwise, the Italian receiving a 30-second time penalty from the race stewards for his part in the incident.
“It was just very disappointing,” said Huff. “Gabriele tried twice to take me off before the Karoussel, while I couldn’t have been more fair while I was racing him. On Friday we were side-by-side at the start on the GP track, and I gave him plenty of room. I’m just disappointed, as he’s been here as long as I have, and I just want to be able to race, cleanly.
“Still, I’m very happy for the team as it’s been a brilliant weekend overall, with both Johan [Kristoffersson] and Benny [Leuchter] winning on Saturday, which is a great lift for the guys.”