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