Photo: TCR Media

Rob Huff comfortably secures his fifth career pole position in Macau

Rob Huff took his fifth career pole position at the Guia Race of Macau, with WestCoast Racing team-mate Kevin Gleason completing a Honda 1-2. Target Competition’s Stefano Comini took a crucial third ahead of Craft-Bamboo Lukoil’s Jordi Gené, with Pepe Oriola fifth.

The first qualifying segment saw Gleason give a hint of what was to come as he topped the sheets, also courtesy of a slipstream from team-mate Gianni Morbidelli. Huff was second ahead of the Oriola brothers, with Target Competition’s Jordi ahead of Pepe and Comini in fifth.

A crash between WestCoast Racing’s Sonny Wong and Craft-Bamboo’s Frank Yu saw a red flag come out. Target Competition’s Francisco Mora had crashed earlier at Police, but his car was repaired to go back out during the first segment of the session. Despite the incident, the Portuguese driver was through to Q2, along with fellow Macau rookie Lorenzo Veglia. The big name left out of the second segment was Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Mikhail Grachev, while James Nash stopped on track in his Ford Focus TCR and was not able to set a timed lap.

In Q2 Huff was dominant straight from the word go, with the Brit making the most out of a slipstream and further improving later on in the session, this time lapping on his own. A small mistake saw the seven-times Macau winner go straight without damaging his Honda Civic TCR.

Behind him the battle raged, with Comini eager to get a slipstream from team-mate Mora and the Craft-Bamboo Lukoil cars also running together, with Jordi Gené ahead of Pepe Oriola and Sergey Afanasyev. It was however Gianni Morbidelli who set the second fastest time, only to crash at Police and causing a red flag.

The drivers rushed out of the pit lane for a final sprint, with Comini once again using the slipstream from Mora in the first sector and Gleason in the third to take second. The American made it to second place, however, completing the Honda 1-2.

Jordi Gené managed to overtake team-mate Oriola to fourth, with the other title contender down in fifth. Morbidelli finished sixth despite the crash, with Target’s Jordi Oriola behind him. Sergey Afanasyev scored a solid eighth for Craft-Bamboo Racing, clocking the same lap time as Jordi Oriola, and ahead of the Target SEAT of Andrea Belicchi, who made it into the top ten just as the chequered flag fell, with Rodolfo Avila completing the top ten.

Engstler’s Lorenzo Veglia and Target’s Francisco Mora finished in the order outside the top ten.

In the championship, Comini extends his advantage to four points from Oriola, with Gené a further 33 behind.

The first race is scheduled for 10:00 CST on Sunday, with Race 2 immediately after.