Rob Huff gave the LADA Sport Lukoil team reason to celebrate in Argentina on Sunday after the Brit scored the Russian brands first-ever World Touring Car Championship podium in the second race of the day.
From pole position, Huff led the opening eight laps of the race, opening up a respectable margin over the field. The former champion was, however, helpless to resist the charging José María López, who had already overtaken eight cars when he approached Huff.
Sensing the inevitability, Huff allowed López into the lead and thereafter held on to give LADA its first podium in the WTCC.
Viktor Shapovalov, Team Principal of the LADA team, was delighted to finally see the marque score a first podium, after it first appeared in the WTCC in 2008.
“I am very, very happy,” said Shapovalov. “A great result for the team and a reward for the efforts we have put in this season, especially since the last race. This is an incredible day that makes us very proud.”
Huff says that he feels he could have won the race had he put up a stronger defence against López, but admits that he had the team’s best interests in mind by settling for second.
“I am absolutely delighted with this result,” exclaimed Huff. “We could have won, but I knew how much this second place would mean for the team, so I made sure we got it. Honestly, I enjoyed the podium as much as any I have had before and it was so nice to celebrate with the team who earned this result through tireless effort and dedication.
“I am so happy to be able to give the LADA Sport LUKOIL team its first WTCC podium here in Argentina,” said Huff. “A lot of improvements went into the car, fantastic team work and we were much more competitive.
“The podium celebration was as enjoyable as any I have ever had. The crowd really got into it all, they were singing and dancing, great celebrations all round. To be able to do this for the guys on the team really means a lot.”
Huff remains optimistic for the final four meetings of the season, which all take place in Asia. Already his LADA Sport team provided a number of improvements for Argentina and the Brit believes the forthcoming circuits may suit his Granta even more.
“I am very optimistic for the remaining races, Beijing is tight and twisty with no need for strong aero, which may play to our strengths,” added Huff. “Shanghai and Suzuka may be tough, but I really think we could be up for another podium in Macau, or even a race win.”