Photo: Macau GP

Rob Huff slams Santiago Urrutia as “dirtiest I’ve ever seen”

Rob Huff has slammed Cyan Racing Lynk & Co rival Santiago Urrutia in the wake of the incident that dashed the British Audi driver’s TCR World Tour title chances in a dramatic Macau season-finale.

Huff was running third on lap eight of 11 when he closed up rapidly on Urrutia ahead – the only driver separating him from leading Audi team-mate Frédéric Vervisch (who had just overtaken Urrutia himself).

As the leaders rounded the Dona Maria left-hander, Huff was seen suddenly running into the back of Urrutia’s car, dislodging the bonnet on his Audi RS 3 LMS, wrecking the windscreen and causing Huff to pit for championship-ending repairs.

After the race, Huff did not hold back in his criticism of the Uruguayan, saying Urrutia had intentionally slowed down in a brake-test move Huff labelled as “the most disappointing and dirty thing I’ve ever seen”.

“I’ve been here 20 years now in professional touring cars and I never saw anything as dirty as what Santiago did in that race,” Huff told TouringCarTimes in the Macau paddock. “I have no problem with him slowing me down – Fred (Vervisch) was slowing him down so I could catch up, sure – but what Santi did was just stop.

“At the exit of Dona Maria, he completely hit the brakes. It’s a place where you’re full throttle and I didn’t expect it at all, so of course I hit him and it destroyed the front of the car.”

The incident effectively put an end to Huff’s championship hopes, with the inaugural World Tour title instead going to Hyundai’s Norbert Michelisz. Huff ends up third in the standings behind Cyan Racing Lynk & Co’s Yann Ehrlacher.

“For a driver (Urrutia) who’s last in the championship to cause that kind of a problem, that doesn’t even help his team but just hands the championship to their biggest rivals Hyundai, it’s the most disappointing, dirty driving I’ve seen.

“What he did was fully on purpose. He destroyed a three-lap massive final here in Macau, so much potential enjoyment for everyone – and I think that’s the biggest loss.

“I don’t care that I’m third in the championship; we were in the fight and that’s all I can ask. But to take it away from the fans, who take their time to come here, they spend their money, take their families out. They deserve a proper final and unfortunately one driver stopped that from happening today.”

Urrutia meanwhile continued to finish second, and shared a different view on the incident, shrugging off Huff’s criticism.

“I had a good race and a good fight with Vervisch,” said Urrutia. “Obviously they (Audi) were a lot quicker on the straights, so much so that he could overtake me before Mandarin.

“Regarding the incident, I just slowed down a little bit more in the hairpin to get a good exit. But I could not even go flat because I had Vervisch in front and then I received a hit from behind by Huff.”

Urrutia ends the TCR World Tour season in eighth place in the final standings.