Rob Austin Racing Press Release
Second on grid for Exocet Racing star plus a best-ever 11th for team-mate Hunter Abbott
Worcestershire’s Rob Austin (Pershore) has superbly qualified on the front row of the grid for the first of tomorrow’s three big Dunlop British Touring Car Championship races at Fife’s Knockhill’s circuit. And there is even more to cheer for the Rob Austin Racing squad with Rob's team-mate Hunter Abbott (Maidenhead) having achieved the best qualifying performance of his BTCC career to date with 11th.
Rob and his Exocet Racing Audi set top ten pace in both practice sessions held earlier in the day and in qualifying he set a scintillating lap towards the end of the session to secure second position on the grid for when he lines up for the start of race 1 on Sunday. All three races are being broadcast live on ITV4 between 10.45am-6.00pm. Notably Rob's qualifying lap was set in a time of 52.206 seconds – just 0.037s away from pole position.
“I’m over the moon with that one – it gives us a great chance of some very strong results tomorrow,” commented Rob. “The car really suits this kind of circuit and I love it here – Knockhill really asks a lot of commitment from the driver and that’s something I can supply.
“Above all it’s another great job from the whole Rob Austin Racing team. It’s always worth reminding people we’re a small independently-run team but we’re still able to compete against the bigger outfits at what is the highest level of motor sport in the UK.
“Obviously it’s only half the job done. Tomorrow’s three races are when the points are scored and it’ll be really important that I get a clean getaway and into a groove early on. Podiums are always great but I am definitely going for wins.”
Hunter (52.511s) was also happy with his performance in his AlcoSense Breathalysers Racing Audi and felt it could have been several places higher at least. He explained: “I effectively lost a set of tyres when I had to take evasive action to avoid a slow pack of cars right in front of me. It meant I span off the circuit and although I was able to rejoin I only got one really good run after that. I’m sure with some more running I could have found another tenth and a half of a second which was top eight pace.
“But I’m still very happy with 11th. I’ll have championship leader Coin Turkington starting right in front of me on the grid so maybe with a good start I can tuck in with him and see how it goes from there. Most importantly, though, I’m in a good position to score some decent points across the three races tomorrow so long as I can keep my nose clean which is never the easiest thing at Knockhill.”