Photo: TCR Europe

Rob Huff explains car fault that led to Race 2 struggles at Spa

Rob Huff had a tough time from start to finish in TCR World Tour Race 2 at Spa-Francorchamps, and it was all down to a fault that occurred with Audi RS 3 LMS II.

The Comtoyou Racing driver started fifth and finished tenth, losing two places on lap one following a wide moment at Bruxelles and then moving down another position on lap three before soaking up pressure from several drivers until lap seven when he dropped another two places.

“On the first lap going through Eau Rouge the front-left damper exploded,” he revealed to TouringCarTimes afterwards.

“And then obviously I had to deal with the seal, which basically blew, so then it’s constantly dripping damper oil onto the front-left tyre. I locked up on the first lap going up the hill, locked up coming down the hill, and then it was like two laps of the oil coming out and then the next seven laps with no damper. So just on the springs.

“Really struggled obviously, I knew we had a problem, so just tried to be as clever as possible with where to let people pass without slowing myself down too much. It was basically survival mode from halfway through lap one.”

Huff lost eighth place on the penultimate lap to BRC Racing’s Mikel Azcona at La Source. He aimed to get back past him at Les Combes but then did not make the corner.

“He came past me at the hairpin. I then got a good run on him, got a good slipstream, went to the outside of him and tried to do what I could, and then I went off the track, overtook him and just left him back past in the next corner. Fair is fair,” reflected Huff.

That corner was not the only one attracting drama through the weekend, with drivers slowing in the final sector causing havoc in qualifying.

“If you look at the video of [Comtoyou team-mate John] Filippi in qualifying, that was a complete joke. I think that was quite disgusting really, if I’m honest. And I think there should have been some pretty hefty penalties put out for that.

“Certainly in the last 20 years of my career, that would have been a very strong penalty for those drivers who were doing what they were doing when Filippi came around the corner at 200kph and they were doing 40kph warming the tyres. I don’t think that’s very good at all.

“Ultimately, I had one of the heaviest cars this weekend, we were one of the heaviest cars in the top ten, so to come away with a tenth and a fifth in a complete damage limitation weekend, I have to be pretty happy. Just score points, lost weight for the next round, and we know Audi has a good record at Vallelunga from the last year.”

Huff’s reflection on the Spa action led to him looking forward to what to expect in future TCR World Tour events where the ‘local’ drivers will be coming from other series rather than TCR Europe. The Vallelunga round is a standalone event but should attract TCR Italy regulars.

“This is part of the World Tour now, I’m very lucky I’ve been here a long time, I know almost all the drivers we’re racing against. But obviously when we go to South America and Australia, that’s going to be completely different for us and we have to understand what the other drivers are like very quickly and how to blend in as well as possible.

“Ultimately I think this year’s going to be won by whoever is obviously the fastest, most consistent but yet invisible car within the championship. It’s going to be tough, and we’re at the very beginning, but these are the conditions we have to race in.”