Rob Huff elated to win Sochi finale after ‘absolutely horrific’ season

Fresh off the back of winning the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, Rob Huff had high hopes for a rejuvenated campaign in the FIA World Touring Car Cup this year. Unfortunately though, his first season with Zengo Motorsport has been far from easy. 

Throughout the entire campaign, Huff has either endured bad luck when in promising situations, or struggled to extract the ultimate performance from his CUPRA. 

So, when a suspension failure stole a potential race victory away from him in race one this morning, it looked as though today might be another one of those days that flattered to deceive. 

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However, in the very last race of the year, Huffy progressed from sixth place on the grid to score a morale-boosting victory. Afterwards, both he and the Zengo Motorsport team were full of emotion, erupting into celebration within parc fermé

“We’ve had a horrific season, absolutely horrific,” Huff admitted once the atmosphere settled. “There’s no other way to put it. We’ve had seven retirements, two of which impacted opportunities where we should have won races – one at Budapest and one here. 

“The car has been really fast in the wet conditions, straight away from Free Practice Two. It was brilliant in qualifying and in race one. 

“Mikel [Azcona] and I did a fantastic job to work together well as team-mates in that race. Mikel got the P1 but unfortunately Fred [Vervisch] and I had a coming together and my car came off worse. Otherwise, I think we would have had a one-two in the first race.”

Following that race-ending incident, there was very nearly no happy ending for Huff due to the tight turnaround between track sessions. However, the Zengo mechanics pulled a miracle out of their hat, and got the car ready for race two just in the nick of time. 

“The car’s amazing,” Huff said in awe. “The team have done a fantastic job to get it repaired and out in time for race two. I think we made it by one minute in the end, so huge thanks to Zengo Motorsport.

“In the race, I just got a fantastic start. I jumped two places, I got Yann [Ehrlacher] and I think I was even battling for the lead into turn one! 

“Then something happened behind the safety car that I’ve not seen for a long while with Yvan [Muller] and Mikel [Azcona]. I’m not sure exactly what happened but it resulted in both of them going off. 

“So on the restart I found myself in P2 from P4. I made a really good move on Nestor [Girolami], we had a really good fight together for a few corners and then I just managed to get my head down and get away.”

But, as has been typical of Huff’s 2021 season, the drama didn’t end there.

“That lap I got a warning on the dashboard from a low fuel pressure alarm,” he revealed. “And then we got some misfires. So I had to do six laps in the lead with the dashboard not really working and the gear change not really working that well either. 

“I’m just so pleased the car finished the race. With my luck this year I wasn’t sure. I genuinely thought at one point with four laps to go that the car was just going to die. That would’ve sealed the fate of the season, but to get on the podium and to win a race was just brilliant. 

“It was really tough, but I’m so thankful that we got the win. I’m quite amazed to be honest!”

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