Rob Huff put his reverse grid pole for the second FIA World Touring Car Cup race at the Slovakiaring down to ‘fifteen years of top-level touring car experience’, paying tribute to his SLR team after ‘struggling like hell’ so far this year.
On a drying circuit, Huff timed his final run in Q2 to near perfection as he was able to lap quick enough to secure tenth, gaining him the pole position for the reversed-grid second race.
Huff had earlier only just scraped through to Q2, having been 25th with just seconds to go before he hauled himself into the positions going through to the second part of the qualifying session.
The result couldn’t come soon enough for the Brit, who had earlier struggled to just 21st and 26th in the earlier practice sessions, with all Volkswagen drivers struggling for pace in the dry this weekend.
“After what we saw last year and what I had this morning in P26 or whatever, I will take P10 all day long,” said Huff. “Ultimately every time we have a problem, these guys, SLR Volkswagen, sort it out for me.
“We’ve been struggling as everyone knows. I think everyone thought we were playing, but we’re not. This is where we’re at.
“This morning was a disaster. I think those tricky conditions played into our hands. I like those conditions and I just managed to get a good lap in Q1.
“It was close, because I only had about five seconds when I crossed the line, and I had to be really close to [Mikel] Azcona which wasn’t ideal because he made a mistake at T1.
“Hopefully we can try and make something on Sunday with this.”
Huff admitted that finding the single-lap pace in his car in the changing conditions had been a particular challenge, with the 2012 World Champion admitting to an element of both guesswork and experience.
“I went flat out with everything I could, and I drove with all my experience in those tricky conditions.
“We improved the car dramatically over this morning as we can see, but ultimately it’s a different car to drive and you have to try and find what it likes and what it doesn’t like, and you don’t have time to try and find it because you’ve got one lap.
“Literally we had one flying lap; the Slovakiaring is hugely demanding on the tyres, so the tyre will only take one lap, and of course the track was drying all the way through.
“We came in, we changed tyres and waited for five minutes, and of course the track’s changed again.
“It’s guesswork, it’s experience, it’s bringing fifteen years of top-level touring cars together to do the best we can. It’s just a reward for the boys – we were struggling like hell and I’m just really pleased for the team to have something to look forward.
Huff is looking forward to Sunday’s three races, particularly if the forecast proves to be accurate and brings rain.
“I love the wet. We came here in the winter and I had a wet test day here so we’re quite comfortable with what we’re doing in the wet.
“I’m looking forward to Sunday. It’s just relief more than anything because we’ve struggled like hell, so it’s quite a special day.”