Rob Huff was left disappointed after qualifying for the World Touring Car Championship in Qatar, with the Brit managing just sixth fastest in Q2.
The Honda driver had earlier been fifth fastest in Q1, and his practice pace was also good, having been fifth fastest in both first and second practice.
But for Huff, he couldn’t hook it together in the crucial Q2 session and ended up just 0.04 seconds slower than eventual pole-sitter Mehdi Bennani’s Q2 time, who went on to take pole in Q3.
“It was a pretty frustrating session for me, mainly because it tended to be that whoever I was behind would cut the corners pretty tightly and pull a lot of dirt on to the circuit,” said Huff. “I’d then get that all over my tyres and it would cost me grip into the next corner or two.
“It’s a real shame because the car was beautifully balanced in Q1 and Q2. Fifth and sixth is kind of a no-mans’ land and isn’t the best place to be in terms of fighting for second in the championship, but our race pace is always stronger than our qualifying speed, so I’m sure I can go forwards from here.”
Honda’s Daisuke Horiuchi, from Hondas R&D Department, believes that Huff will be able to come back stronger in the evening’s two races.
“The Civic is always a strong car in racing conditions,” said Horiuchi. “I know that Norbi [Michelisz], Tiago [Monteiro] and Rob will all fight very hard to improve their positions in both races. Our aim is to finish the season on a high.”
Huff has now been passed by Bennani in the drivers’ championship standings, with the Brit being two points behind the Moroccan heading into the races.
Both of the season’s final races take place later on Friday evening.