18 November 2013
Rob Huff delivers second victory of 2013
Rob Huff takes victory in his swan song for SEAT in an eventful race 2 at the Guia Circuit in downtown Macau.
Rob Huff gave the German ALL-INKL.com Munnich Motorsport SEAT team a huge boost with which to end the season by taking the race two victory at Macau, in the final race of the season and his last outing with the squad before his move to LADA for 2014.
It was Tom Coronel who actually got the race underway at the front with the LADA of James Thompson alongside him, but only yards into lap 1 the race had already been immediately red flagged.
Starting from the fourth row, Norbert Michelisz had tagged Tom Chilton's Chevrolet which sent the Hungarian driver into the wall and collected Mehdi Bennani, Darryl O'Young, Tom Boardman, Mikhail Kozlovskiy, Konstantins Calko and Hugo Valente in the process - all of whom were all out on the spot.
A lengthy clean-up process was required, and after a delay of some thirty minutes the race was back underway again with drivers resuming their reverse qualifying format grid positions that meant James Thompson, Tom Chilton and James Nash were all fighting for the lead positions and closing in on race leader Tom Coronel in the lead.
Chilton and Nash got a little too close at times and Rob Huff took advantage of the situation. Chilton then suffered rear end damage, and - while touring back to the pits - he was hit by Eurico de Jesus Honda Accord which put them both out instantly and helped spark off one of the most bizarre pile ups ever seen in world touring car history.
Despite the safety car boards and yellow flag's being clearly shown, some of the local Macanese drivers (and regulars) seemed to be racing at a relatively fast pace. With de Jesus' Honda stricken on the track, this ultimately lead to Charles Ng, Felipe De Souza and Henry Ho collecting each other up at the same point. Also caught up were Franz Engstler and Yvan Muller, who were attempting to negotiate their way through the cars and debris and Michael Soong and Jo Merszei also subsequently arrived at the scene added to the chaos.
Almost as if making up for the matter-of-fact race 1, the Guia Macau street circuit was more than living up to its reputation as a car wrecker in race 2. After another delay, the race finally got going again with a four lap sprint for the line which allowed Huff to get the better of Thompson and Coronel and take an unassailable lead to victory.
Behind Huff, Thompson ended up being punted off by Pepe Oriola, the second incident of the day for the Chevrolet driver and as a result Oriola gained a reprimand on his licence - although this time he was allowed to keep P2 overall. Coronel saw out his end of his stint driving a BMW for third, with James Nash this time the winning independent.
There was another top five for Alex MacDowall ahead of Yvan Muller, who finished sixth in a hastily-repaired Chevrolet to see out his final drive with the RML team who have helped the Frenchman to three world championships now.
Marc Basseng steered clear of the incident-filled action to equal his race one feat of P7, just ahead of Gabriele Tarquini, who started last after the engine replacement in his Honda Civic was completed and he duly made it worth everyone's frantic efforts by taking eighth. Henry Ho finished ninth as top Eurosport Asia trophy driver after holding off Celio Alves Dias of in his now ancient China Dragon racing Chevrolet Lacetti.
After all the chaos, only 15 cars saw the chequered in what was undoubtedly the most incident-packed WTCC meeting ever witnessed in its 204-race history since the series was resurrected in 2005 from the competitive European guise. It was certainly one way to finish the year with a finale that everyone will be talking about for months to come.
by Dexter Fielding
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