Macau WTCC master Huff: no secret to my success
The most successful driver in the history of the famous Guia Race – Macau’s round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship – insists there is no secret to his domination of the demanding street contest, which is back on the WTCC roster from 16-19 November after three years away.
Instead Huff, who became world champion in Macau in 2012, simply puts his record eight Guia Race wins down to the fact he just ‘clicks’ with the ultra-demanding 6.120-kilometre layout.
Huff made his Macau debut in 2005 and scored the first of his seven WTCC wins there in 2008. He added his eighth Guia Race triumph when the TCR International Series visited in 2015 and will be one of the favourites for victory this year when he lines up in his privateer ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée WTCC.
“I’m massively excited to be going back, probably much more than anyone else,” said Huff, 37. “Macau has always been a magical place for me from the first moment I went there. I’ve always been quick and confident there but I don’t know the answer why. It’s always been a place that’s clicked with me. To have eight victories is something special and I want to build on that.”
Huff looks back on his first visit as playing a key role in the success that followed. “I went there for the first time with no apprehension, no idea really. I hadn’t really heard of the place if I’m honest. The first year my good friend [and fellow WTCC racer] Tom Coronel helped me out. He’d been there many times before and we spent two hours from 2am on the Monday and Tuesday before the race going around in a taxi. Although you can’t do a full lap of Macau in a taxi it was a big help.”
The Briton holds the Guia Race lap record, a 2m27.009s effort set in 2014 in a LADA Granta as he drove to his seventh win, which he admits was a somewhat fortuitous result.
“For whatever reason we’ve got the lap record in a Lada Granta but don’t ask me how,” said Huff, of his performance in the unfancied Russian machine. “We were quicker than José María López in a Citroën C-Elysée and no one could touch him in 2014. Okay, I got lucky because Tiago [Monteiro] lost the powersteering when he was leading, but I beat Yvan Muller in another Citroën and he was behind me the whole time.”
In terms of Macau’s ranking in the order of the world’s toughest tracks, Huff is quick to draw comparisons with the 25.378-kilometre Nürburging Nordschleife, which hosts Germany’s round of the WTCC each May.
“You can make a few mistakes at the Nordschleife and get away with it,” explained Huff. “At Macau you don’t get away with any mistakes. There are circuits that are as challenging but there aren’t any that are as unforgiving as Macau. There is no room for error. Those who push the boundaries on every corner can get rewarded but it can also be a disaster. There’s no such thing as a small amount of damage at Macau.”
Rob Huff’s WTCC Race of Macau in numbers
Fastest laps:5 (holds lap record)
Rob Huff’s WTCC Race of Macau wins
2008:Race 2 (Chevrolet Lacetti)
2009:Race 1 (Chevrolet Cruze)
2010:Race 1 (Chevrolet Cruze)
2011:Race 1 and Race 2 (Chevrolet Cruze)
2013:Race 2 (SEAT León)
2014:Race 2 (LADA Granta)
*Huff scored his eighth Guia Race win in November 2015 in a Honda Civic when the event counted as a round of the TCR International Series
This year’s WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Macau, the Suncity Group Macau Guia Race, will run to a new format with the Opening Race and Main Race taking place on separate days. While the timetable adjustment will result in a more advantageous international broadcast slot for the Opening Race (due to begin at 14h10 local time, 07h10 CET on Saturday 18 November), the extended opening of parc fermé between the two counters will give teams maximum opportunity to repair and ready their cars for Sunday’s Main Race, which is scheduled from 10h40 local time (03h40 CET). Usually, OSCARO Repair Time is restricted to 20 minutes with five minutes for refuelling only.