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Rob Huff returns to scene of maiden BTCC win

Toyota’s Rob Huff will return to the scene of his first-ever win in a touring car this weekend, as he prepares for the second round of the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch.

Huff started his 2024 season at Donington Park with a brace of top ten results, having endured a frustrating qualifying session early on before fighting for victory in the reversed-grid final race.

The 44-year-old earned his first win in tin-top racing at the Kent circuit almost 20 years ago, in August 2004, when he came out on top in a scintillating final-lap battle. He had also taken his first touring car podium just four months prior at the same venue.

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Since then, Huff has gone on to contest over 500 touring car races, most of them internationally, secure a touring car world title and win more than 45 races.

“Brands Hatch is a place with a lot of history for me,” said Huff. “My first-ever touring car win there in 2004 came at the end of what was probably one of the most famous last laps in BTCC history.

“There was a safety car intervention that set up a single-lap dash to the line, with my team-mate Jason Plato leading from Matt Neal, Yvan Muller and me.

“All hell broke loose on that final lap, and after going into Paddock Hill Bend in fourth place, somehow I came out of Druids in the lead.

“To this day, I’m not entirely sure how that happened! It was an amazing way to win my first BTCC race, and it’s a moment that is still talked about now.”

Huff is hoping the weather will be much improved this weekend, allowing him to get on with fighting for outright victories in the Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota.

“It’s a fantastic spectator circuit that always attracts a big crowd, and hopefully the sun will put its hat on this time and we get some dry weather!

“We certainly go to Brands armed with plenty of useful data from pre-season testing, and we learnt a lot at Donington, too, both on-track and from an operational point-of-view.

“Everyone was thrown right in at the deep end there with the changeable conditions and consequent delays.

“Now we’ve got that first event under our belts, we can focus on moving forward – and hopefully have a more straightforward weekend to really kick-start our campaign.”

Brands Hatch also evokes happy memories for the Cheshire-based Speedwork seam, which won its first race at the track in 2016 with Tom Ingram.

Team Principal Christian Dick is thus hoping for a better run of form for the factory Toyota-backed side of the stable.

“We go to Brands Hatch with a lot of confidence following our performance at Donington Park – and probably a little unfinished business, too, after not coming away with the kind of results we felt we deserved on the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK side of the garage,” said Dick.

“What we did take away with us were a lot of positives and reasons for encouragement, from Andrew [Watson]’s excellent qualifying to Rob’s standout drive in race three, which leave us very optimistic that when we execute a full weekend, we will reap the rewards.

“Brands Hatch Indy is a circuit that holds very happy memories for us as a team, and we had two very productive test days there ahead of the season.

“It’s a busy lap, with no time to rest, but both drivers will have a lot of hybrid available to them in qualifying.

“We saw in the races at Donington how big an effect that will have this year, so we need to make sure we capitalise – especially as overtaking opportunities around the ‘Indy’ layout are not what you would call plentiful.

“The goal has to be to get at least one if not both cars through to the ‘Quick Six’, and if we can do that, I think we will be well-placed to enjoy a very good weekend indeed.”

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