29 July 2007
Anderstorp 2007: Huff scores first win of season.
Rob Huff scored his first World Touring Car Championship win of the season after an impressively controlled drive in tricky weather conditions at Anderstorp.
Getting the jump on pole man Tiago Monteiro early on in a race that started wet but ended dry, Huff maintained his composure to cross the line just ahead of a charging Monteiro, who will go away from Sweden ruing a costly ragged first few laps.
A thrilling race that saw numerous overtaking opportunities and different strategies coming into effect, the finishing order was decided over the final couple of laps as those that had pushed their wet tyres too hard in the early stages found themselves floundering as a dry line quickly appeared.
A mixture of tyre choices were peppered down the grid as the drivers made their way onto the grid, the rain falling but not hard. Gabriele Tarquini, Alain Menu and Robert Dahlgren all taking the risk of slick rubber, one that appeared a big mistake in the wall of spray that greeted them down the home straight as the race got underway.
It was here that Huff made his move from third on the grid, the Brit getting a wonderful start to deny both Monteiro and team-mate Nicola Larini to lead heading down the long back straight.
Seemingly revelling in the conditions, Huff quickly pulled a gap over what was soon Jordi Gene, the Spaniard starring in the new diesel SEAT Leon to run second early on, ahead of Monteiro.
Somewhat curiously though, Gene began to lose pace mid-way through the race, where as Monteiro on the other hand experienced a renaissance as he battled back up to second place and set about breaking the huge gap down to Huff in front.
He very nearly managed it too, the Portuguese driver lapping quicker and quicker as a dry line appeared, but not doing quite enough to deny Huff a first win of the season and only the second of his WTCC career.
Monteiro crossed the line second for his best result since switching to touring cars, while James Thompson rounded out the podium, the Brit gradually climbing up the order to eventually cross the line in third position. Tom Coronel was one of the stars of the race in fourth, although the Dutchman had run third before sliding off the circuit in the closing stages and losing out to Thompson.
It was Gabriele Tarquini though that enjoyed a magnificent surge in the final laps though, the drying line giving him the grip he needed to make his slick tyres work. The Italian sat just 15th with only a few laps to run before picking rivals off one-by-one, passing the Chevrolets of Larini and Rickard Rydell, as well as team-mate Yvan Muller, on the final lap to finish fifth. Muller though made history to score the first points for a diesel car in a World Championship race in sixth.
Larini crossed the line seventh, ahead of slick-shod Menu, who also charged from the back of the field in the closing stages to earn himself pole position for the second race.
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