British touring car racer Rob Huff got a late penalty handed by the racing Stewards panel which resulted in the loss of his 10th Macau Guia Race victory, after finishing first in a shortened to 6 laps eventful Sunday race.
Although Huff’s dominance in this category was clear most of the time during the weekend, the final win was removed after a protest from Shell Teamwork Lynk & Co Motorsport team from the race results.
After analysis of the proof submitted, the panel of stewards decided to hand to Huff a drive-through [the pitlane] penalty for the breaching Macau Guia Race Sporting Regulation, Article 12.1.d, which relates to the causing “an avoidable collision.”
The facts reported to a collision between Huff and Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua in a Lynk & Co 03 TCR occurred at the second lap of the race at a time that Ma was leading the race and Huff was second.
Crossing the finish line into Lap 2, Ma was on the lead into Mandarin Bend when Huff hit the back of his car making him lose control and hitting hard the barriers destroying his car completely and, in the process, also part of the safety protections in place.
The event led to an interruption of the race with the Grand Prix staff having to clear the area from all the debris from the Ma’s car as well as the barrier itself.
Since the decision from the panel was made after the race, the drive-through pitlane was transformed into a final penalty of 30 seconds, added to the total race time.
According to information that the Times had access to, on the lap that the incident occurred Huff, contrary to what had done in other occasions did not decelerate briefly while passing at the bend, a reason that led the stewards to blame him for the accident that put Ma out of the race.
In the press conference held after the race, Huff had expressed his happiness for having reached the record-breaking figure on 10 wins in the famous Guia Race, now claimed back.
Huff apologized for the accident saying he had no intention to hit Ma’s car, saying that he felt that Ma’s cars slowed down suddenly in front of him when he was too close and he could not avoid the crash. Such a fact is contrary to the evidence presented to the Stewards that was Huff was going faster than normal and caused the collision.
As for the race itself was not a joyful one with the race being cut short to half-distance and ending with all the racers lined up on the back on the Safety Car that had this year a predominant role as the consecutive crashes happening in the different races forced to his deploying on track too many times. With the decision, Huff lost his 10th victory in Macau.
In the process, Chinese manufacturer SAIC MG, the mother company of the almost centenary British brand MG Motor UK (Morris Garages) also lost their first victory in their first-ever participation in the Guia Race with the MG 6 XPower.
The loss of the title by Huff was not the only result under protest, later on, the result of another SAIC MG, Hong Kong’s Andy Yan was also targeted with a penalty.
Yan was punished also with an addition of 30 seconds to his race time losing in this way the third position and the place on the podium.
After all the amendments were made, the victory in the race was handed to Jason Zhang in a Lynk & Co 03 TCR car, followed by his teammate Sunny Wong from Hong Kong. The last place in the podium smiled to another HK driver, Lo Sze Ho in a Honda Civic Type R FK2 TCR.