TCR Talk – The Brits Abroad: Huff starts STCC campaign in style at Karlskoga

During 2020, TCR Talk will be following the progress of the various British drivers racing in TCR Series abroad. We continue this series with 2012 FIA World Touring Car Champion Rob Huff, who is competing in the 2020 STCC TCR Scandinavia series for Lestrup Racing Team…

Here is the TCR Talk roundup of Rob’s performance at Karlskoga in Sweden, location for the opening races of the 2020 STCC TCR Scandinavia Series

Race One at Karlskoga…

Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky battles Huff’s team-mate Oliver Söderström Credit: STCC TCR Scandinavia

Söderström started Race 1 from pole position alongside his teammate Rob Huff, but Huff dropped three spots at the start, while Tobias Brink in his Audi RS 3 quickly moved ahead of Söderström’s Golf to lead in the early stages.

A mistake on lap nine allowed Söderström the opportunity to retake the lead, meanwhile Huff was recovering, passing Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, Emil Persson and then eventually Brink to finish the race with a Lestrup 1-2 – only to be handed a five-second penalty post-race for contact with Brink, which dropped him to fourth in the final order.

Åhlin-Kottulinsky’s race ended with broken suspension after contact with Ahlberg, and her car was repaired with parts from Peter ‘Poker’ Wallenberg’s CUPRA, which ruled the 61-year-old out of the rest of the day.

Race Two at Karlskoga

Lestrup Racing Team in action at Karlsloga. Credit: STCC TCR Scandinavia

In Race 2, Brink led the way from pole ahead of Dahlgren and Huff, in what was a more laid-back race.

Unfortunately for Brink, the Audi driver was deemed to have jumped the start, which meant he would have 20 seconds added to his time, which ruled out any chance of victory.

Behind him, Dahlgren was keeping Huff at a safe distance behind until the final two laps, when the Briton closed in, but ultimately ran out of time to make a pass.

This allowed the reigning champion to score his first win with the new Leon Competición, with Huff second and Söderström completing the podium after having worked his way past Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Mattias Andersson.

Race Three at Karlskoga

Lestrup Racing Team in formation. Credit: Martin Öberg

The top eight were reversed for Race 3, which gave Ahlberg pole position, and he made the most of it, pulling away from the pack as Andersson made one of his typical fast starts from fourth on the grid and was up to second.

From there, Andersson kept the field behind him, with Persson harrying the Honda lap after lap to no avail.

The Lestrup Racing pair of Huff and Söderström were working together to make their way forwards, both passing Åhlin-Kottulinsky into Turn 1 on lap eight for fourth and fifth, and then were able to pass Persson on the penultimate lap, with Huff securing third and Söderström fourth.

Huff reflects on Karlskoga

Rob Huff at Karlskoga. Credit: Martin Öberg

Rob Huff made his debut for the Lestrup Racing Team in the 2020 STCC TCR Scandinavia Series at Karlskoga, however, the Volkswagen driver is no stranger to either Touring Cars or driving TCR cars in recent years.

With this in mind, Huff reflected on his performances at Karlskoga and also reflected upon the hard work that the team put in after various issues arose over the race weekend.

“I’m very pleased with this weekend. The guys have been working 24 hours a day for two weeks as we’ve had a few issues. The engine we put in just before qualifying is our fifth engine with this car.  It was such a relief when we’re able to put two quick laps in and get it onto P2 on the grid,” explained Huff.

“As for the races, what a day. It’s been a fantastic day not only for myself but for my team-mate Oliver as well – and it’s all thanks to the amazing work done by the team.”

The Dubai based driver went on to explain how he performed in the first three races of the new season, racing on a track he’d never seen or driven on before the opening weekend.

“In the second race, I think if we had a couple of more laps I could have got Robert (Dahlgren) for the win, but I’m still over the moon with the result, and then in Race 3, that was a lot of fun. The reversed grid is what touring car racing is all about, and I was able to work with Oliver to make my way through, knowing he had my back but that he was also close enough to follow me through when I made some moves.”

“I’d like to say a big thank you to Lestrup Racing Team for all their hard work. They’ve done a brilliant job with this car – the setup and the handling of this car is the best I’ve ever felt.”

“Next is Skellefteå, another new circuit. This is all new to me, but I’m having a lot of fun. I’ve been really nicely welcomed into the championship, and am really looking forward to the next one.”

The next round of the 2020 STCC TCR Scandinavia championship takes place at the Drivecenter Arena, near Skellefteå in northern Sweden, on August 28th-29th.

The 2020 STCC TCR Scandinavia Series Credit: STCC TCR Scandinavia

TCR Talk will be following Rob Huff this year, as he competes against the 2020 STCC TCR Scandinavia Championship competitors whilst driving for Lestrup Racing Team looking to try and secure his first ever TCR Title.

I will be keeping things up to date on here as well as in The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group where members will also be sharing their thoughts and any news from the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), The TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The TCR UK Touring Car Championship and other Domestic & Regional TCR Series from around the world.

Until next time, all the best!