Rob Huff admitted he was disappointed to miss out on the top-ten shootout for the opening round of the World Touring Car Championship season in Brazil.
In what is the first race weekend for the new Chevrolet Cruze, the Briton – Chevrolet's top performer during 2008 – found himself as one of the drivers not to make it through to the final stage of qualifying after only managing the 13th quickest time in the first 20 minute session.
It left Huff watching on the sidelines as team-mates Alain Menu and Nicola Larini hit the track for the shootout and he admitted that the pace had been in the car to make it through had he not encountered traffic on his quick lap.
“It is a pity to be out of the top ten in Q1, because I really think we had the potential to have the three cars in Q2,” he said. “I managed to do quite a good time on used tyres initially, and on my second attempt, with new tyres, I was blocked by the BMW of Hernandez. I had to go on a kerb to pass him and the performance was not in the car after that.”
Team boss Mark Busfield agreed that it was disappointing not to see Huff make it through, but pointed to the performance of Menu in setting a top three time in Q1 as a sign that the team is making good progress with the new car.
“Although we missed the objective of having the three cars in the top ten, we proved we have the potential to do it,” he said. “Rob was as competitive as Alain and Nic, and without the little incident he had with a slower car, he should have made it to Q2. In any case, what we have seen today, and especially, Alain's time in Q1 is a very encouraging for the team.
“We're looking forward to tomorrow when we will realise our race pace, and we plan to stay out of trouble and collect some valuable points to get the season started.”