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Rob Huff stresses importance of ‘massively important’ qualifying at Oulton Park

Toyota’s Rob Huff believes that qualifying will be ‘massively important’ for this weekend’s British Touring Car Championship races at Oulton Park, with overtaking often difficult at the Cheshire circuit.

The 44-year-old is returning to Oulton for the first time in two decades this weekend, having scored a best result of seventh at the track in his début BTCC season in 2004.

Despite that, the Cambridgeshire racer is in an optimistic mood, likening the venue to parts of the Snetterton circuit where he took a first win of the year last month.

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“I haven’t raced at Oulton Park that much – the last time was back in 2004, but it’s just the kind of challenge I relish,” said Huff, who is currently tenth overall in the drivers’ standings.

“It’s fast-and-furious with very limited run-off or margin for error, and with the speed of the touring cars now, it’s going to feel very quick indeed compared to when I was last there in Super 2000 machinery!

“It’s one of the toughest and most technical tracks in the country, with plenty of elevation change and a lot of sweeping high-speed turns combined with probably two of the slowest corners on the calendar.

“It’s a little bit reminiscent of the infield section at Snetterton in some ways and the car was flying there, so I think it should suit the Corolla quite well.”

Out of four qualifying sessions so far in 2024, Huff has made it through to Q2 in half of them, with his best qualifying effort so far this year being eighth at Snetterton.

Having narrowly missed out on getting out of Q1 last time out at Thruxton, Huff knows that qualifying well for this weekend’s races will be crucial.

“With no real straight lines, it isn’t difficult to defend at Oulton, so qualifying will be massively important – it’s not a circuit where you can easily recover from a bad start to the weekend.

“It really punishes any problems you encounter early on, making it essential to stay out of trouble.

“As a team, we are still searching for consistency and one of my personal targets is to make it into Q3 for the first time.

“To do that, we need to start off on the front foot and quickly get the car into a place where I’m feeling comfortable.

“If we can secure a couple of solid top six results in the first two races, we can then see where we shake out on the reversed grid for race three and go from there…”

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