Rob Huff has had a relatively quiet start to the 2021 FIA World Touring Car Cup season, though he did manage to put on an eye-catching display in the feature race at Motorland Aragon this weekend.
However, his time in Spain wasn’t all plain-sailing to begin with:
“Obviously Race One was going quite well,” he said. “I started P15 and got up to, I think, P12 on the start, then dropped back to fifteenth again and back up to fourteenth.
“I was having quite a good race with [Luca] Engstler but then we had quite a strange mechanical failure where the flywheel came loose, broke the clutch, and that took one of the boost pipes off of the intercooler. So I had to box for that and get that repaired.
“After that I just did an extra lap to make sure the car was okay, which it was, so I came back in. But then we had to break the parc fermé because that was when we realised that the clutch was broken and we had to replace the clutch.”
So, with the Zengo Motorsport mechanics having to breach parc fermé conditions to get his CUPRA onto the grid for Race Two, Huff was sent to the back of the pack.
From there, he had a mountain to climb to salvage anything from the weekend, with fate seemingly not on his side for the third event in a row. However, what came next was probably the Brit’s best performance of the year.
“I had to start from the back in Race Two, P22 I think we were, and had a fantastic race.” Huff recalled. “We changed the set-up, got everything really good, and was just picking everybody off one by one.
“I moved all the way up to P9 so it was really good. I had quite a fun last lap with Yvan [Muller] where he hit me at the chicane, but we managed to save it and get back [in front]. So yeah, really good to finish P9 from P22.”
Of course, ninth place is not the sort of result that Huff or his team-mate Mikel Azcona would normally be happy with, but it is no secret that Zengo Motorsport are struggling to extract the ultimate pace from their CUPRA package at this early stage of the season.
Nevertheless, the car’s short wheelbase and reputation as being a good ‘all-rounder’ should serve it well at the twisty Adria Raceway, which is set to play host to the next round of the championship.
As such, Huff will be hoping to match Azcona’s podium result from this weekend, if not in the feature race then certainly via the reversed-grid.