Huff Closes The Gap With Charge Through To Race 2 Win

by Peter Allen
Rob Huff - Photo Credit: WTCC Media

Rob Huff has closed the gap to World Touring Car Championship points leader Yvan Muller with a charge to victory in Race 2 in Brazil.

The Brit was the first of the Chevrolet trio on the grid, starting in eighth, but moved up to fifth at the start followed by Muller who had got past Alain Menu. Menu regained the place on the Frenchman on the second lap.

Tom Coronel held second behind fellow BMW driver Norbert Michelisz off the start, but began falling backwards on the second lap. He was first passed by the SEATs of Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro, and then all three Chevrolets got down the inside at the final turn.

The Chevrolet train then got by Tiago Monteiro on lap three, before the safety car came out during lap four after Charles Ng had gone off, joining his team boss Franz Engstler in the gravel after the German had gone off on the lap before.

At the restart at the beginning of lap seven, Tarquini got ahead of Michelisz before the first turn, with the Chevrolets following the Italian through.

Four laps later, Huff took the lead from Tarquini around the outside of turn one. He was then able to open up a lead as it took two laps for Menu to get down the inside of Tarquini for second place.

It was Muller's turn to try and get past next but he failed to find a way past and had to settle for fourth. That failure to make the podium meant that Huff has taken three extra points over the Frenchman on race day, leaving the Brit 17 points behind in the standings – one point closer than was coming into the weekend.

“We needed that,” said Huff. “The car was awesome. My engineer helped me change the car. The mechanics did a fantastic job and the car was awesome. I could just put it where I wanted to.”

Michelisz finished three seconds behind Muller in fifth place overall and the winner of the Yokohama Trophy, ahead of a frantic battle for sixth.

The bamboo engineering pairing of Alex MacDowall and Michel Nykjaer started fifth and seventh but plummeted at the start. Nykjaer raced his way back through to sixth by the finish though, passing Mehdi Bennani for the place on the last lap.

Bennani also lost out to Coronel at the end to drop to eighth, ahead of Monteiro who was running sixth until Bennani went side-by-side with him on lap 11. Monteiro went off and was fortunate not to hit any of his pursuers at the next corner as he slid back on track.

Aleksei Dudukalo claimed the final point in tenth after a bruising encounter. Firstly he was clobbered by Alberto Cerqui as they crossed the start/finish line at the end of lap eight. As the Russian moved right to defend his place, Cerqui shadowed him but made contact and bounced off into the pit wall. Dudukalo later made contact with MacDowall as he got ahead of the Cumbrian, who eventually finished just three tenths behind.

A little further back was Tom Boardman, ahead of Stefano D'Aste who initially failed to get away at the start of the race. Fernando Monje finished 14th in his SEAT, ahead of the Team Aon pair of James Nash and Tom Chilton – the latter of whom actually stopped on the last lap but was still classified 16th, one spot ahead of Pepe Oriola who retired to the pits with three laps to go.

Darryl O'Young was unable to take up his fourth-place grid slot due to needing his gearbox fixed, and had to start from the pits. He was back in the pits after completing four laps.

Next up for the WTCC is a maiden visit to the United States, at Sonoma on 23 September.

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