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Rob Huff on BTCC return: ‘Brilliant, just not enough time’ after hybrid issues stunted day

Rob Huff returned to the British Touring Car Championship in a day where no session had the same conditions. On top of that his Team HARD CUPRA car was not always 100%. Light-heartedly, though, he was happy about one thing. “I mean, [Michael] Creasy didn’t beat me, so I’m happy with that”.

Huff was enjoying every second out on track as he returned to the BTCC for the first time since 2017 at Knockhill. The day was very hit and miss for the seasoned former World Touring Car Championship driver.

“[It was a] brilliant day, just not enough time,” said Huff to TouringCars.Net. “We had problems with the hybrid in the first session. Second session was good, obviously it was completely wet, so just feel the car and just learn as you go.

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“Then Qualifying was the first time I drove the car on slicks, so not exactly ideal. We started the session obviously wet and then it got dry and dry. We did the right call by going to slicks early. And then last lap was the fastest lap. Of course, every lap you go a bit faster, you push a bit more and find the limits without making mistakes.

“But then, of course, by the time you’ve done that, the tyres drop right off. So, you know, a bit of a catch-22. I’m not obviously happy with being where I am. At the same time, couldn’t have asked for a harder first day back in school. I learnt a lot”.

Despite all the things that were thrown at him on the Saturday, Huff is happy with what he has got underneath him to attack Sunday.

“Yeah it’s the first time I’ve driven it in the dry. Then when you go straight into qualifying. I think the car’s absolutely fine. I’ve got some work to do. But like the chicane, for instance. You see when I stand there afterwards and watch Q2, the shootout, they’re just straight-lining the chicane.

“Well, I’ve had 20 years in cars where you can’t really do that because they send the damper straight through the top. Turns out in BTCC cars you can do that. So, you know, there’s a few tenths there and other bits and bobs. So to extract everything out of a tyre that you’ve never driven on, in a car you’ve never driven, on a track you’ve not driven for 20 years, it’s probably asking quite a lot.

“I would have preferred if we had a free practice that was dry. Or if Qualifying had just been wet. In 2017 we started 24th in the grid and got a podium at the end of the day. So there’s a lot of hope”.

When asked what were the biggest differences to what he was used to in TCR machinery, Huff only had one thing on his mind, the hybrid.

“Honestly, I’m not a fan of the hybrid. I’m not a fan of having to push a button on the steering wheel throughout the majority of a lap on track. At the end of the day, it is what it is. Obviously, we lost the session this morning because of a fault with it, which was very frustrating, obviously, when you only get two half-hour practice sessions.

“Ultimately it’s a touring car, you know. Like I said, I’m not happy with the position. If someone said you’re going to go into qualifying and only be a second off when you’ve never driven it on slicks. I probably would have shook their hand and taken that deal as a first day back.

“It’s just one of those things. It’s a very, very, very close championship, very competitive. You need to extract everything all at the same time. That’s what, obviously, the top guys do. It’s what we do in the World Championship. And it’s almost physically not possible to do that with the way that the days turned out today for me. I mean, I want to go back out now and qualify again. Obviously, now it’s wet, probably not. We’ll just take each step as it comes and learn as much as possible”.

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