Huff surprised by Honda WTCC pace at Monza

Former WTCC champion Rob Huff says he was surprised by Honda's pace in last weekend's Monza races, as the Japanese manufacturer topped the speed traps.

Huff surprised by Honda WTCC pace at Monza
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Rob Huff, All-Inkl Motorsport, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Rob Huff, All-Inkl Motorsport, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Rob Huff, All-Inkl Motorsport, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC lead at the start
Rob Huff, All-Inkl Motorsport, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Rob Huff, All-Inkl Motorsport, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC

Honda's Tiago Monteiro went into the Monza weekend expecting a tough time, but a double podium finish in Italy meant he ended up increasing his championship lead.

Huff, who switched from Honda to the Munnich Citroen squad over the winter, said the Civic's pace in a straight line came as a major shock.

“This was going to be ours and Volvo’s weekend, and it was supposed to be Honda’s worst, but the job they’ve done with that car over the winter is mightily impressive,” Huff said.

“Tiago was just pulling away from me on the straights. It’s a shame we hadn’t done that last year, as I think we’d have taken the fight to the Citroen works team.”

A factor to consider however is that the four Citroen cars are still carrying 50kg of compensation weight as the winning manufacturer from last year.

This will be recalculated for the next round of the championship at the Hungaroring, and with Honda and Volvo setting the bulk of the fastest laps and both pole positions in the first two races, the two manufacturer teams are set to receive a large increase in penalty weight.

“The other guys are going to get some weight,” said Huff. “We don’t know how much it’s going to change, but every little helps.

"We’ve tested in Budapest and we know we’ve got a good balance in the car straight away, but the 50kg we’re carrying round here hurt us a lot.”

Huff’s two podiums at Monza put his championship challenge back on track, the Briton moving to joint-fifth in the drivers’ standings and taking the lead of the independents’ classification.

“The first race was good race,” he said. “I was really focusing on staying out of trouble, but at the start I got a big hit up the arse by Tiago, which caused me some damage as it put me into the Volvo.

“It’s a shame as me and Esteban [Guerrieri] had a really nice Turn 1, we were both side-by-side, he left me room, and then as we went into the left, we both got shoved up the rear and that put me into [Nicky] Catsburg.

"But I’m on the brake pedal and I’m being pushed forward, so there was nothing I could do whatsoever.

"It’s a shame, as everyone has to make Turn 1, we have a lot of damage on the rear for nothing, as you can’t drive through people.”

Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes

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