Honda’s Rob Huff admits that taking victory at Honda’s home round of the World Touring Car Championship in Japan this weekend will be a challenge, with the Civics carrying the same 80 kg of compensation weight as the Citroëns.
As a result of recent success in Portugal and Argentina, the Civic drivers will be forced to carry as much compensation weight as the dominant Citroën C-Elysée cars.
Japan has typically proven to be a challenging country for Huff, who has only ever taken one win in the land of the rising sun. However, the Brit did stand on the podium at the Twin Ring Motegi in 2015, the first year the circuit featured on the calendar, and he has set his sights on the top step this year with Honda.
“It’s Castrol Honda Racing’s home round and Twin Ring Motegi is tremendous for racing and overtaking,” said Huff. “I’m really excited about getting out to Japan.
“Last year I started both races from lowly grid positions and achieved a podium result. A win would be fantastic this time around, but we have to be realistic and acknowledge that it’s going to be difficult with 80 kg of ballast on-board.”
Huff admits that the 4.8 km circuit should provide plenty of opportunities for passing and close touring car racing.
“Motegi is one of the best circuits on the calendar for racing as it’s nice and wide and there are several big braking zones that create good overtaking opportunities.
“While I’ve raced in Japan many times – and won there in the WTCC – this will be the first time I’ve done so for a Japanese manufacturer. With this in mind, I’d love to give what I’m sure will be a big crowd of Honda fans something to cheer about.”
A busy itinerary comes with being a works’ Honda driver in Japan, and Huff knows that he will have a hectic time over the course of the race weekend.
“The whole week is going to be great,” added Huff. “We have a visit to Honda’s Research and Development facility and its simulator, media interviews and meet-and-greets with the hard-working people behind the scenes who have been involved with the WTCC programme from the start.
“Honda will have a lot of support and I’m determined to put on the best show possible! The fact is, we still managed to secure pole position with 70 kg of weight in Morocco and Twin Ring Motegi should play to the Civic Type-R’s strengths.”