Suzuka WTCR: Huff ends six-month win drought
Former World Touring Car champion Rob Huff scored his second win of the 2018 WTCR season in the reverse-grid race at Suzuka.
Huff secured second on the grid behind the Campos Racing Cupra of Pepe Oriola having qualified ninth on Friday, but the Sebastien Loeb Racing VW driver snatched the lead up the inside at Turn 1.
A safety car period followed shortly after that as the Munnich Motorsport Honda of Esteban Guerrieri - who had set an identical laptime in qualifying to Oriola but qualified 11th - was spat into the barriers through the Esses.
Action resumed on the third lap of 10, but Huff was never put under any real pressure by Oriola and steadily began to build a two-second cushion.
The Briton crossed the line with 1.4s in hand over Oriola to take his first win since April's Hungaroring round.
Oriola spent the latter half of the race defending from the BRC Racing Hyundai of Norbert Michelisz, who managed to dispense with Denis Dupont's Comtoyou Racing Audi shortly after the restart.
But Michelisz couldn't find a way past Oriola and had to be content with his first podium since his victory in Slovakia.
Dupont then found himself passed by three more drivers, succumbing to Comtoyou teammate Aurelien Panis, the second BRC Hyundai of Gabriele Tarquini and Kevin Ceccon's Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo.
Friday race winner Ceccon was able to make three spots from his grid slot of ninth to finish sixth behind Panis and Tarquini, and ahead of Race 1 poleman Aurelien Comte (DG Sport Peugeot).
Completing the top 10 finishers were Huff's Loeb Racing teammate Mehdi Bennani and Yann Ehrlacher (Munnich Honda).
Having drawn level with Tarquini at the head of the standings on Friday, Yvan Muller (YMR Hyundai) failed to make progress from 11th on the grid and ended up with no points.
It means Tarquini is now 10 points clear of Muller, with Thed Bjork (YMR Hyundai) now 27 points adrift in third after finishing outside the points in 13th.
Tiago Monteiro's comeback weekend continued with a low-key run to 15th in the best of the Boutsen Ginion Hondas.
UPDATE: A five-second time penalty for Dupont dropped him out of the points, moving Comte up to seventh ahead of Bennani, Ehrlacher and Muller, who gained a point.
Suzuka WTCR: Ceccon delivers Alfa Romeo's first win
Suzuka WTCR: Ceccon penalty hands Tarquini victory
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|Teams||Sébastien Loeb Racing|
|Article type||Race report|