ROB LAD­BROOK

GROUP NA­TIONAL EDITOR “Huff saw his chance and bolted for it”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

There are plenty of ex­am­ples in world mo­tor­sport of driv­ers mak­ing a gam­ble or a de­ci­sion based on their vi­sion a few years down the line.

Think Lewis Hamil­ton mov­ing from the Mclaren pow­er­house to the mid­dling Mercedes for 2013. De­spite more than a few raised eye­brows at the time, that worked out rather nicely in the end…

Hav­ing that lit­tle bit of in­sider knowl­edge or that faith in a fu­ture di­rec­tion can pay off mas­sively at the higher lev­els of the sport, and Rob Huff could well be look­ing at a sim­i­lar out­come in a few years.

The World Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship hasn’t been the hot­bed of in­ter­est it should be in re­cent years. The cars are su­perb, with good aero lev­els and 400bhp en­gines, they are the fastest pure tour­ing cars on the planet with lap­ti­mes not far off GT3 pace – by pure tour­ing cars I mean not the pro­to­type-es­que DTM or Su­per GT of­fer­ings.

But some­thing has been miss­ing in the WTCC for quite some time – open com­pe­ti­tion. As you can read in my in­ter­view with Huffy on page 20, he knows that com­pe­ti­tion is on the way back.

Citroen join­ing the WTCC was a real coup. The se­ries needed man­u­fac­turer in­vest­ment and in­ter­est, but no­body quite guessed the level Citroen would bring. With a colos­sal bud­get, a su­perb car and three of the best driv­ers in the game the Ver­sailles team has swept all in its wake. Yes the ad­di­tion of Se­bastien Loeb brought some global in­ter­est for the first sea­son, but fans quickly turned off when Citroens won es­sen­tially ev­ery­thing.

With Citroen now on the way out, it’s time for a re­fresh. Volvo is com­ing in with a few su­perblook­ing S60s and with Citroen gone at the end of the year there should now be a much more level play­ing field. Re­move the Citroens from last year’s tim­ing sheets, and sud­denly ev­ery­body is within the same time bracket to the se­cond.

Huff has served his time out of the top seats. The pri­va­teer Mun­nich Mo­tor­sport op­tion was never go­ing to bring him a se­cond ti­tle and the lesser­funded Lada works op­er­a­tion was sim­ply dwarfed by Citroen.

Huff has seen his chance and he’s bolted for it. Honda is up­ping its com­mit­ment to the cham­pi­onship this year by run­ning three cars, and Huff will be cen­tral to all of it with a global man­u­fac­turer.

With Citroen leav­ing the WTCC, the top of the tree is va­cant for 2017 and ready for some­body to step up. Huff knows suc­cess won’t come overnight, but given time he has the re­sources at his dis­posal to climb the sum­mit once again.

Rob Huff knows the fu­ture is bright with Honda

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