Rob Huff looked in the groove as he topped the timesheets in the morning warm-up in Macau, ahead of the races that could see him crowned World Touring Car Champion.
The Briton, who starts the first of today’s races from pole position after heading qualifying in convincing style on Friday, posted a fastest time of 2:31.160, less than two seconds off his lap record pace from the qualifying session. He leads Chevrolet teammates Alain Menu and Yvan Muller by 37 and 41 points respectively with a total of 50 on offer.
“I’ve always really liked this circuit,” said Huff to Eurosport after the session. “I really enjoy it here, I feel very comfortable here, and the car’s just amazing. It’s a sad day because it’s the last day of Chevrolet in the World Touring Cars as we know it, but I’m just out there trying to do the best for myself and the team and so far, so good.”
The format of the Macau weekend means the WTCC drivers have the Saturday off having qualified on the Friday.
“It was awful having yesterday off, not only because we weren’t racing but of course the wife’s got the credit card so that makes it even worse,” Huff joked. “I was just trying to stay nice and relaxed. I went for a bit of a swim and so on, and just literally tried to relax. It’s difficult of course and it is very strange having that day off because you’ve got two nights to sleep and think about it rather than just the one.”
Tiago Monteiro made the most of the extra track-time in the new Honda Civic and went second quickest, 0.684s slower than Huff. The Portuguese driver starts fifth for the first of the races. Muller was third fastest ahead of fourth place qualifier Gabriele Tarquini and Menu.
Fredy Barth returned to action after his qualifying shunt on Friday, the Sunred team having worked hard to repair his car. He again found the tyre barriers in the warm-up, this time at the Melco hairpin, but got going again and finished the session in sixth place. Franz Engstler, Tom Boardman, Pepe Oriola and Yokohama Trophy polesitter Darryl O’Young completed the top ten.
The two nine-lap races that close the 2012 WTCC season are set to take place at 3:05 and 4:20 GMT, live on Eurosport.