Huff Consolidates Third Place In World Championship
Rob Huff used the Japanese round of the 2008 WTCC to further strengthen his third place in the World Championship standings. In bad weather, but in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Okayama International Circuit, Huff mastered the weather gods and most of his competitors and took home a valuable nine points. Alain Menu, who had been the fastest Chevrolet qualifier, saw his weekend ruined at the start of race 1. Nicola Larini couldn't overcome his low starting position in race 1 and opted for a safe tyre choice in the second race, which started in dry weather but on a wet track. Like Menu, Max Orido didn't survive the start of the first race either, but worked his way back up in the second to finish first of the local drivers.
Rob Huff (4th/5th): "I had a very good start but Porteiro jumped the start and started to push everyone wide, which caused the first corner mayhem. I was on the right-hand side of the track and came out fourth after the first corner. Then I had a few steady laps, knowing that the car would get better in the middle part of the race. I had a bit of a moment in Turn 1 which allowed James (Thompson) to pass me, but with the car getting better and better as the race progressed I managed to catch him again. I then got passed by Andy (Priaulx), but on the last lap there were just too many cars for one corner which allowed me to take fourth from Monteiro. It was a good race given the difficult circumstances and I really enjoyed it. For race two I started on slicks, which of course meant that the first few laps would be difficult on the wet track. Then after about five laps the race started to come to us and the car got quicker and quicker and I could start passing the guys in front of me, which was quite entertaining. The team did a fantastic job this weekend and I am, of course, very pleased to go home with nine points and still in third position of the World Championship."
Nicola Larini (16th/12th): "Given where I was starting from in race 1 there wasn't really much more I could do then to move up a few places. In the second race I opted to start on wets, which was of course the tyre to be on in the beginning of the race. I moved up from 16th on the grid to seventh after lap 1, and things looked well for a few laps. Then the tyres started to go off at the front and I lost most of the grip. From then on the only thing left to do was to bring the car home."
Alain Menu (DNF/13th): "I had a dream start for race 1, running in third, staying on the right line, braking where I should and then Farfus understeered into me. The car was too damaged to continue so I came in for repairs to have a sound car again for race two. In the second race, I started on slicks but at the start I didn't manage to brake as I should have for Turn 1 and hit another guy. This bent my steering, so for the rest of the race – and with nothing to gain – I decided to take it easy and save the car for Macau. There I will be running very light so hopefully I can finally turn that into my advantage. So far it hasn't been my year this year, but the opera isn't over until the fat lady sings."
Max Orido (DNF/18th): "In race 1, I got hit on the right rear wheel which broke the suspension, so I only did half a lap. In the second race I had to start from the pitlane, but I drove a steady race and fought my way back to 18th. The key was to stay on the track and not make mistakes, which was not always easy in these conditions on slicks. But the car felt good after repairs and I even set my fastest race lap in the very last lap."
OKAYAMA RACE 1 RESULTS
1. R Rydell SEAT Leon TDI 14 laps in 26m24s554 2. J Müller BMW 320si +5s607 3. A Priaulx BMW 320si +6s941 4. R Huff Chevrolet Lacetti +10s696 5. T Monteiro SEAT Leon TDI +13s051 6. A Farfus BMW 320si +13s203 7. Y Muller SEAT Leon TDI +14s301 8. T Coronel SEAT Leon +14s760 16. N Larini Chevrolet Lacetti +23s545 DNF M Orido Chevrolet Lacetti Accident damage (1 lap) DNF A Menu Chevrolet Lacetti Accident damage (1 lap)
OKAYAMA RACE 2 RESULTS
1. T Coronel SEAT Leon 14 laps in 26m15s135 2. A Farfus BMW 320si +0s097 3. S Hernandez BMW 320si +6s426 4. J Thompson Honda Accord Euro R +7s207 5. R Huff Chevrolet Lacetti +8s363 6. Y Muller SEAT Leon TDI +15s576 7. T Monteiro SEAT Leon TDI +17s992 8. F Porteiro BMW 320si +18s692 12. N Larini Chevrolet Lacetti +29s879 13. A Menu Chevrolet Lacetti +31s540 18. M Orido Chevrolet Lacetti +51s511
DRIVERS POINTS STANDINGS AFTER RACE 22 OF 24
1. Y Muller (SEAT), 100 points; 2. G Tarquini (SEAT), 86; 3. R Huff (Chevrolet), 73; 4. R Rydell (SEAT), 72; 5. A Priaulx (BMW), 67;...10. N Larini (Chevrolet), 48; 11. A Menu (Chevrolet), 44;...
MANUFACTURERS POINTS STANDINGS AFTER RACE 22 OF 24
1. SEAT, 304 points; 2. BMW, 251; 3. Chevrolet, 211; 4. Honda, 55