Thursday, April 17, 2014

BTCC: And so on to Donington... for Rob Austin Racing

Rob Austin Racing Press Release

Worcestershire’s Rob Austin Racing team resumes its 2014 Dunlop British Touring Car season this Easter Sunday (20 April) in rounds four, five and six of the 2014 championship at the famous Donington Park circuit.

Team principal and racer Rob Austin (Evesham) believes he is set for strong results in all three races after his faithful Audi A4’s ‘Sherman’ showed a stunning turn of speed in Brands Hatch a fortnight ago.

Both his and rookie team-mate Hunter Abbott’s Audis – currently undergoing final preparation inside RAR’s Pershore workshops – will be loaded into the team transporter on Thursday morning before heading to Donington on the Leics-Derbys border near East Midlands Airport.

Significantly Rob’s car will be fitted with an onboard camera by ITV Sport for Saturday’s qualifying session (live on and Sunday’s three races (live on ITV4).

“The last time I had the onboard camera – at Rockingham last year – I won! Hopefully that’s a good omen,” remarked Rob. “I also really enjoy Donington – it’s full of fast, undulating sweeping bends making it a real driver’s circuit so it’s always one of my favourites on the calendar. Plus it’s where I’ve had some significant moments in my racing career…

“It was at Donington I achieved my first race win in British F3 – I did a celebratory donut on the slowing down lap and spun into the gravel trap! There was also a Masters GP historic Formula 1 race when I went from ninth to first on the first lap in my Arrows A4 – everyone raves about Ayrton Senna’s opening lap in the European GP there, but he only went from sixth to first." Quite...

“It’s also where I made my BTCC race debut, in 2011. It’s not been the kindest to me in terms of BTCC results yet, but the Audi’s chassis has always been very good there and we had a fantastic pre-season test at Donington when we learnt a lot and seemed to be on the pace of some other very fancied runners. So I’m confident – I know, I’ve said that before! But we showed we had great pace at Brands Hatch and it’s important I score well in all three races this weekend to keep the championship leaders in sight. I’m equal ninth in the standings at the moment and want to be higher than that by Sunday evening.”

Hunter, from Maidenhead, said: “Now I’ve had a taste of the BTCC at Brands Hatch I cannot wait to get back out there. The qualifying times won’t be as close as they were at Brands but my goals are to improve on my qualifying position from Brands and my race starts – they were diabolical! – plus, dare I say it, break into the top ten in a race. That would be fantastic."

Hunter, too, has enjoyed several Donington dices of note, adding: "I had my first ever car race there in Formula First in 2000 and put it on pole position! In 2008 I set a new GT4 lap record when I was sharing a Ginetta G50 with Rob in British GTs. Wheel-banging with (former F1 racer) Martin Donnelly in Radical sportscars in 2005 was good fun as well..."

Timetable: Rob Austin Racing, Donington Park BTCC, 19/20 March 2014

10.00am Free Practice Session 1 (40mins);
12.30pm Free Practice Session 2 (40mins);
3.40pm Qualifying (30mins)

11.35am BTCC Race 1;
12.50pm-1.20pm Pit Lane Autograph Session;
2.25pm; BTCC Race 2;
5.15pm BTCC Race 3 (all races 16 laps/31.36 miles)

Photo credit: Phil Laughton Photography