Former WTCC champion Rob Huff has shocked series insiders by announcing that he will reunite with the privateer Münnich Motorsport team to drive its newly-acquired ex-factory Citroëns in 2017.
The Englishman was a headline signing by the factory Honda team for the 2016 season and won the opening races of the France and Morocco rounds – although he was subsequently disqualified from the latter due to a technical irregularity with his car’s flat floor. A further four podium finishes saw him finish sixth overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
His move to the German privateer outfit will see him reunite with the squad with whom he raced in 2013 as the defending series champion in the wake of Chevrolet’s departure as a manufacturer from the championship. Running in an unfamiliar SEAT León WTCC that season, he claimed victories in Hungary and Macau to finish fourth overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
“I’m overjoyed to be rejoining my very good friends at Munnich Motorsport,” said Huff. “Having had a very successful year in 2013, we are excited to come back together in a much stronger position, with more experience and of course with the ultra-competitive Citroën package.
“Obviously when [team owner] René Münnich approached me with the idea of a Huff-Citroën-Münnich Motorsport attack on the World Championship for 2017, it was an opportunity that I simply could not pass on.
“It’s quite possible for a private team to be World Champions [in 2017], and that is our #1 goal.”
Huff joins in place of his compatriot James Thompson, who deputised for owner/driver Münnich for much of the 2016 season in the team’s venerable RML-built Chevrolet Cruze TC1.
Despite the car’s vintage, the team was able to regularly challenge for the minor points’ places – that is undoubtedly expected to change with the arrival of the all-conquering C-Elysée, according to team manager Dominik Greiner.
“With the Citroen C-Elysee TC1 we have the most dominant car of the past three seasons. With Rob, we also have a driver with a lot of experience and success in the past. The combination of car, team and driver makes me feel very positive for the new season,” he said.
“We at Münnich Motorsport are very much looking forward to the new season. You can clearly feel the motivation from every single person in the team.”
Münnich Motorsport is the second privateer outfit to be confirmed it will be running Citroëns for 2017, joining the ranks alongside Sébastien Loeb Racing which recently confirmed Huff’s countryman Tom Chilton had re-signed for another season with the French squad.
As for Huff’s former employers, Honda, it is understood that the outfit will still field three factory cars in the WTCC this year. Incumbent drivers Tiago Monteiro and Norbert Michelisz could be joined by Japanese driver Ryo Michigami for 2017, according to the latest speculation.
Images via FIA WTCC Media and Münnich Motorsport