Huff scores historic WTCC Macau win with Lada

Autosport

Lada racer Rob Huff scored a dramatic seventh victory in Macau after heartbreak for Tiago Monteiro in an unpredictable 2014 World Touring Car Championship finale.

Briton Huff was engaged in a ferocious three-car fight for the lead with Monteiro and Yvan Muller for much of the race.

Two laps before the scheduled finish, Portuguese ex-Formula 1 driver Monteiro appeared to have done enough to score his first win of the season, having eked out a comfortable two-second lead.

The intervention of a late safety car appeared to hand Huff a final opportunity to recover terms on Monteiro.

The factory Honda racer successfully defended his position into Lisboa on the restart, only to falter with a power steering problem exiting the Melco hairpin on the final lap.

“Without Tiago’s problem, I don’t think I could have won,” said a modest but delighted Huff.

“I didn’t know at the time what the problems was, but it caused him to hit the wall, and that made me hit the wall exiting Melco.

“I knew the Lada wasn’t the quickest car in a straight line, so I had to make it really wide when fighting my old friend Yvan. I am so pleased for everyone at Lada Sport.”

Eighth-place starter Muller provided a determined attack throughout, but finished just 0.3s adrift of Huff at the finish. The Alsace driver locked his front axle on the final restart, gently nudging Huff, before momentarily losing ground.

Polesitter Hugo Valente had dropped to second behind fast-starter Monteiro away from the line, and the Parisian’s attempt to recover the position at Lisboa on the opening lap resulted in outbraking himself and falling to fifth.

Valente worked himself back up to the final place on the podium by diving inside race one runner-up Norbert Michelisz into Lisboa on the penultimate lap.

Hungarian Honda privateer Michelisz finishes the season without a win, but his consistent frontrunning performances earned him fourth place in the drivers’ standings behind the dominant Citroen trio of Jose Maria Lopez, Muller and Sebastien Loeb.

Recently crowned WTCC champion Lopez finished fifth ahead of former World Rally Championship star Loeb.

Lopez has achieved the record for both most wins in a season, with 10, and most points.

Front row starter Tom Chilton took seventh place, one second clear of ROAL Motorsport team-mate Tom Coronel.

WTCC veteran Franz Engstler brought his seventh and final season in the series to a close with victory in the Yokohama Trophy and 10th overall.

Only two Hondas started the Macau finale, as factory driver Gabriele Tarquini withdrew with illness and Proteam was unable to repair Mehdi Bennani’s car following his race one accident.

RESULTS – 11 LAPS:

PosDriverTeamCarGap
1Robert HuffLADA Sport LukoilLada28m21.086s
2Yvan MullerCitroen Total WTCCCitroen0.344s
3Hugo ValenteCampos RacingChevrolet3.352s
4Norbert MicheliszZengo MotorsportHonda3.990s
5Jose Maria LopezCitroen Total WTCCCitroen4.285s
6Sebastien LoebCitroen Total WTCCCitroen4.825s
7Tom ChiltonROAL MotorsportChevrolet5.562s
8Tom CoronelROAL MotorsportChevrolet6.615s
9James ThompsonLADA Sport LukoilLada8.252s
10Franz EngstlerLiqui Moly Team EngstlerBMW41.038s
11Rene MunnichAll-Inkl.com Munnich MotorsportChevrolet1m31.505s
12John FilippiCampos RacingSEAT1m38.302s
13Filipe SouzaLiqui Moly Team EngstlerBMW1m40.310s
14Ka Lok MakRPM Racing TeamBMW2m04.022s
15Henry KwongCampos RacingSEAT2m22.483s
16Tiago MonteiroCastrol Honda WTC TeamHondaNot running
Ma Qing HuaCitroen Total WTCCCitroenRetirement
Mikhail KozlovskiyLADA Sport LukoilLadaRetirement
Gianni MorbidelliAll-Inkl.com Munnich MotorsportChevroletRetirement
Gabriele TarquiniCastrol Honda WTC TeamHondaNot started
Mehdi BennaniProteam RacingHondaNot started
Williams LokCampos RacingSEATNot started

FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

PosDriverPoints
1Jose Maria Lopez462
2Yvan Muller336
3Sebastien Loeb295
4Norbert Michelisz201
5Tiago Monteiro186
6Gabriele Tarquini182
7Tom Coronel159
8Tom Chilton150
9Gianni Morbidelli109
10Robert Huff93
11Mehdi Bennani85
12Hugo Valente85
13Ma Qing Hua69
14Dusan Borkovic41
15James Thompson22
16Mikhail Kozlovskiy11
17Franz Engstler8
18John Filippi4
19Rene Munnich3
20Pasquale Di Sabatino2

Huff scores historic WTCC Macau win with Lada

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