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Rob Huff returns to winning ways in the BTCC, 20 years after last win

Rob Huff scored his first British Touring Car Championship victory in 20 years in a thrilling final race at Snetterton, having fought through the pack from 14th on the grid on a drying track.

One of seven drivers to start the race on the favourable soft tyre, Huff was up to sixth by the end of the second lap, as the early lead was assumed by Laser Tools Racing’s Jake Hill and Toyota’s Andrew Watson, the only two drivers who started the race on the wet tyre.

Hill, in fact, led for the first two thirds of the race, the BMW driver having leapt from ninth on the grid up to fifth at the start.

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When pole-sitter Sam Osborne lost his Ford Focus through the first corner, sending his car sideways in as cloud of tyre smoke, the field had to check up, and Speedworks’ Aiden Moffat emerged as the leader from WSR’s Bobby Thompson.

Hill got by Thompson for second at Agostini, before assuming the lead further around the lap when Moffat went wide at the Bomb Hole.

With Hill quickest in the wet final sector of the lap, he used this to his advantage and extended a lead of seven and a half seconds by lap five.

However his wet tyres soon began to go off, and in the latter stages he was lapping more than six seconds per lap slower than his rivals on dry tyres.

Huff had been embroiled in a four-car scrap with his Toyota colleagues since lap five, and despite some fierce battling with Josh Cook, which resulted in Huff going straight on at The Esses on lap seven, he emerged in second on lap eight, having slipped inside Moffat when he had a huge slide through Coram.

The pass on Hill on the next lap was a breeze due to the tyre advantage for Huff, who took the lead into Agostini and never looked back, although he later admitted that he wasn’t even sure he was leading at this stage.

Moffat held on to take second, with Cook completing the podium in third. The result is Toyota’s first-ever 1-2-3 in the BTCC, and also the first 1-2 since 1992.

EXCELR8 Motorsport’s Tom Ingram was fourth after coming through the field from 16th on the grid, the Hyundai driver making up most of his ground on the opening lap.

NAPA Racing UK’s Ash Sutton was fifth after seizing an opportunistic move past both EXCELR8’s Tom Chilton and the struggling Hill at Agostini, completing a strong drive from the very back of the field to maintain his championship lead, which now stands at ten points.

Chilton took the chequered flag in sixth despite trying to fight back past, ahead of BMW’s Colin Turkington in seventh.

Bobby Thompson took eighth, WSR’s newest BMW signing having dropped back four places on the opening lap, to conclude his maiden WSR weekend with a trio of top ten results for the first time in his BTCC career.

The top ten was completed by the struggling Hill and Power Maxed Racing’s Mikey Doble, who took the Independents’ class victory for the second time in a row.

After starting on the wets, Andrew Watson faded quickly after the mid-stage of the race and finished down in 16th.

NAPA Racing’s Daniel Rowbottom was battling for a top ten result before picking up a puncture early on and falling a lap down.

The only retirement of the race was Restart Racing’s Chris Smiley, who was turned around by Daryl DeLeon on the opening lap after he in turn was tapped by Huff in a moment of mid-pack bunching.

Race results

1 12 M Rob HUFF TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport 12 25:37.243 2:02.481 14
2 16 M Aiden MOFFAT LKQ Euro Car Parts with SYNETIQ Toyota Corolla GR Sport 12 2.338 2:02.697 2
3 66 M Josh COOK LKQ Euro Car Parts with SYNETIQ Toyota Corolla GR Sport 12 3.297 2:02.351 7
4 80 M Tom INGRAM BRISTOL STREET MOTORS Hyundai i30 N Fastback 12 3.501 2:01.251 16
5 1 M Ashley SUTTON NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST 12 12.830 2:03.453 20
6 3 M Tom CHILTON BRISTOL STREET MOTORS Hyundai i30 N Fastback 12 14.169 2:04.617 6
7 20 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 330e M Sport 12 16.470 2:03.758 15
8 19 M Bobby THOMPSON Zeus Cloud Racing with WSR BMW 330e M Sport 12 19.425 2:02.948 3
9 24 M Jake HILL Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport 12 20.025 2:08.458 9
10 88 I Mikey DOBLE Evans Halshaw Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 12 21.864 2:03.145 5
11 33 M Adam MORGAN Team BMW BMW 330e M Sport 12 24.073 2:03.812 18
12 18 I Daryl DELEON Duckhams Racing with Bartercard CUPRA Leon 12 24.565 2:05.555 10
13 27 M Dan CAMMISH NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST 12 32.149 2:04.876 8
14 77 M Sam OSBORNE NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST 12 34.856 2:03.092 1
15 40 I Árón TAYLOR-SMITH Evans Halshaw Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 12 34.857 2:04.297 12
16 11 M Andrew WATSON TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport 12 46.341 2:10.039 4
17 29 I Scott SUMPTON Restart Racing CUPRA Leon 12 46.697 2:06.370 11
18 14 M Ronan PEARSON BRISTOL STREET MOTORS Hyundai i30 N Fastback 12 52.203 2:05.287 19
19 32 M Daniel ROWBOTTOM NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST 11 + 1 LAP 2:03.682 17
R 222 I Chris SMILEY Restart Racing CUPRA Leon 0 DNF N/A 13
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