TCR Finale at Macau - Rob Huff uncatchable at practice sessions
Seven-time winner at famous Macau Guia track Rob Huff is on the best way to score two more victories this weekend, at season’s finale of TCR International Series. Huff will compete as a guest driver in West Coast Racing’s Honda Civic and he already showed that he is the main pretender for top podium spot. He was fastest at both free practice session yesterday and today, with big advantage ahead others.
On Thursday’s session Huff completed a lap of the Guia circuit with a time 2:35.036. Jordi Gene (Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil) was second fastest with a gap of 1.8 seconds, ahead only two title contenders Pepe Oriola (Craft-Bamboo Lukoil) and Stefano Comini (Target Competition). All three were driving Seat Leons.
Macau racers Henry Ho (PAS Macau Racing Team, Honda Civic) and Rodolfo Ávila (Asia Racing Team, Seat Leon) were also impressive, as they were classified in fifth and sixth, beating TCR regulars Sergey Afanasyev (Craft-Bamboo Lukoil) and Kevin Gleason (West Coast Racing). Jordi Oriola and Andrea Belicchi (both Target Competition) rounded out the top ten.
Gianni Morbidelli (West Coast Racing) was sidelined for the whole session by a power steering failure, while Alain Menu could not complete any valid laps and stopped on the pit straight due to suspected engine problems at Top Run’s Subaru. A few drivers had scary moments and some cars suffered from extensive damage. Josh Files (Campos Racing, Opel Astra) spun at the fast Mandarin bend and broke the rear suspension against the barrier; Lorenzo Veglia (Liqui Moly Team Engstler, VW Golf) crashed at Turn 16; Guillaume Cunnington (Asia Racing Team, Seat Leon) and Keith Chan (Target Competition, Seat leon) hit the barrier at the Lisboa bend. The two hardest crashes occurred in the final stages of the session when Douglas Khoo (Niza Racing, Seat Leon) went off downhill towards Maternity bend and Rafaël Galiana (Target Competition, Seat Leon) hit the barrier head-on at the “R” bend.
In a today’s session Huff was again fastest, with the best lap time improved to 2.33.702. Pepe Oriola improved to 2.34.811 and Stefano Comini made a lap time 2.35.373. Jordi Gené ranked in fourth, ahead of Kevin Gleason, Jordi Oriola, Sergey Afanasyev, Andrea Belicchi, Francisco Mora (Target Competition) and the Macau duo of Rodolfo Ávila and Henry Ho. Gianni Morbidelli posted the 12th fastest lap, followed by James Nash (Proteam Racing, Ford Focus) who pitted in the latest stages because of a suspected engine problem. Dan Wells (Campos Racing, Opel Astra) also pitted to prevent overheating.
Once again some drivers were involved in different incidents. Guillaume Cunnington spun at the Lisboa bend and rejoined, Francisco Mora broke a rim at the Melco hairpin, Keith Chan crashed heavily at the Mandarin Bend and Douglas Khoo at the “R” bend. Three cars did not take part in the session: Rafaël Galiana’s Seat and Josh Files’ Opel for the consequences of the damage they suffered in two different crashes during Practice 1, and Alain Menu’s Subaru due to a terminal engine failure.
The drivers will on the track again for the Qualifying, Saturday morning at 7.30 local time. Both races are scheduled for Sunday morning.