The sole European representative at this year’s Grand Prix, British driver Rob Huff is confident that if there’s one thing that can be predicted for this year’s Macau Guia Race, it’s its unpredictability.
“Just to be here racing is very special […] We knew coming here that it would be a busy race, everyone wants to race here […] I would like to extend my record but under the circumstances, it will probably of the hardest years to improve it,” the British driver told MNA.
‘Fresh’ from a 14-day quarantine and a 40-hour long plane trip with multiple stops, Huff will still aim for a record 10th win in the local touring race for MG XPOWER team, but admits not a lot of preparation time was available this year.
“I’m sure you can imagine [how the quarantine is like]. Not the most exciting time of my life but it’s a sacrifice we make to be able to race in Macau […] It was just me, myself and I […] To get here I came from Dubai, Paris, Taiwan and then Macau, some 40 hours of travelling,” Huff told MNA.
“It’s not the ideal situation for me, normally you want to make a few days of testing in Zhuhai or something, but with the quarantine, this was not possible. To drive the car for the first time in Macau is not the best situation, especially with so many red flags and very slow drivers making it a little bit more dangerous”.
Due to the pandemic disruption, this year’s Guia race will not count for the FIA WTCR but instead will serve as the final round of the 2020 TCR China Championship, with Huff’s teammate, driver Rodolfo Avila, aiming for a decisive win in a competition currently headed by Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua.
As with other races in the 67th Macau Grand Prix, pandemic restrictions led to the usual overseas contenders to skip the event this year, with most drivers in this year’s Guia Race coming from either Macau, Hong Kong, or Mainland China, and a packed 35 driver line-up.
“That’s the situation and we have to adapt ourselves as professionals to the situation we are given. In the end, the results will not show who is the fastest or the best, but the luckiest driver with the least amount of traffic or red flags”.
After completing the first testing races yesterday, the driver noted that if there’s a red flag when arriving at the pit lane there would be around 25 cars at the back.
“When the session goes green, we are stuck behind cars making 30 or 40 seconds laps slower than us and we can’t overtake because they are not looking at the mirror or weaving. I don’t know what they are doing, some of them. But this is Macau,” he noted.
“When you come here with the [WTCR] world championship you are against 30 of the best drivers and at least lap times are within 10 seconds. Like this when you come here is a lottery. But it will be good fun for sure. Whatever happens, I will be enjoying myself”.
The Macau Guia Race Qualifying race will be held today (Saturday) at 10:30am.
Huff will be driving an MG6 XPOWER TCR – produced by the Chinese owned British automotive manufacturer MG Motor since 2010 – and considered that the brand could maybe have a future in WTCR.
“Why not? There’s a lot of work to do for sure. The car is not good or bad. The good thing about TCR regulations is that you build the car around it and then the BOP [Balance of Performance] takes care of everything else. There’s a lot of work to do before even considering WTCR,” the driver added.
“I think this is something they could definitely consider in the future. The plan is to get MG back in the world stage and we have to wait and see. It’s really the first and true Chinese built TCR car, it has good potential but it needs a lot of work”.
The “XPower” brand was created by the MG Rover Group in April 2001. The motorsports division was included in the sale to Nanjing Auto in 2006, eventually ending up with current owners SAIC in 2007. Currently, the MG XPower brand integrates all of the brand’s sport and racing activities.
The letter “X” is historically significant. The EX project number used by MG denotes “test” vehicle subjects. These include the EX257 (MG Lola Le Mans racer), EX258 (MG ZR rally car), EX259 (MG ZS BTCC race car), and more recently, the MG 6 XPower TCR and MG ZS XPower XRacing.