Photo: WTCR Media

Rob Huff says “he had nothing to lose” on fight with Oriola

Rob Huff scored his first win in six months in the World Touring Car Cup in the second race at Suzuka, converting the outside front row position for Race 2 into victory, taking the fight to championship contender Pepe Oriola’s pole-sitting Cupra, who he told “he had nothing to lose” ahead of the race.

Huff qualified in ninth position for Sunday’s races, which became second for the reversed grid second race, and at the start, Huff took the lead in his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, fighting with Oriola around the first corner.

From there, Huff powered on to win by 1.4 seconds as Oriola fought a rearguard action against the Hyundai i30 N TCR of Norbert Michelisz, allowing Huff to win his first race since the second round of the championship at Hungary, after a tough middle of the season.

“I spoke to him before the race when he came to me,, and I made it clear I’ve got nothing to lose, so if I get a better start, do what you want to do, but you’ve got a championship to think about and I don’t,” said Huff to TouringCarTimes.

“We’ve struggled with some really rotten luck in the last four weekends, where I’ve not been where I wanted, but it’s fantastic to come here to a circuit I know and love and have had podiums before and win,” he added.

“I’ve been working with the engineers to try and work on how to launch this car, because our system amongst the Volkswagen Group combined is not as good as what Honda or Hyundai have. We knew we were losing a lot of spaces at the start this year and I wanted to really focus on that, and we did. Pepe made a good start, but we really nailed out start and that was thanks to my engineers and all of us having a better understanding on how to start the car.

“In Race 3, I also made a good start, I made three places by Turn 1 but there was a kerfuffle at front and I backed out and lost a few places there. Norbi and Pepe also cut the chicane and gained an advantage, and it took something like eight laps before Pepe got a drive-through, and by that time I’d already got back past Norbi.”