Rob Huff has moved up to fourth in the World Touring Car standings after a third and fourth place finish in the latest round of the championship at Imola.
Slotting in behind the three SEATs of Yvan Muller, Rickard Rydell and Gabriele Tarquini, Huff has now overtaken Andy Priaulx to become Britain's leading title hope as the series enters the final three meetings.
Qualifying well to start fourth, Huff ran third for much of the first race but was demoted to fourth on the penultimate lap when he was passed by James Thompson. However, his fifth place starting position in the second allowed him to make progress, the Chevrolet driver eventually overtaking team-mate Nicola Larini to secure a podium finish in third.
“I had a good start in race one, running in third through the chicane. I tried to pass Rydell for second but didn't make it so I decided to save third place for the points. I couldn't keep up with the SEATs as they were so much faster on the straights. In the twistier part of the track I could close up, but coming on to the straights they just pulled away on acceleration. Then on the penultimate lap Thompson pushed me wide to overtake me so I ended up fourth.
“In the second race I had a good start, but then the safety car intervened because of the start line accident. After that I again had to give way to Thompson, who was clearly on a mission in a very light car this weekend, so I dropped to fourth. Nicola then had some brake issues and I could pass him for third near the end of the race.”
Had Huff had completed victory at Brands Hatch, he would currently be Muller's closest competition, but four consecutive top four results, despite considerable success ballast, means Huff is likely to get the backing he needs from his team-mates to make a title charge.
“Our goal in any case was to try and overtake Priaulx for fourth in the championship, which we managed. It has been a very good weekend for us, especially since it was the first time we ran the Chevrolet Lacetti with 70kgs of ballast. I was pleasantly surprised of how well the car handled with all that extra weight, so I'm really looking forward to Monza in two weeks.”