Monday, August 25, 2014

BTCC: Double BTCC podium for Rob Austin at Knockhill‏

Rob Austin Press Release

Worcestershire’s Rob Austin was the only driver to twice finish on the podium in three highly charged Dunlop British Touring Car races at Fife’s Knockhill circuit today – results which keep him firmly in the hunt for a top ten finish overall in the UK’s premier motor racing championship.

Rob had qualified an excellent second fastest on Saturday to line up on the front row of the grid for the start of today’s first race. And that is where he would finish the race despite a scary trip off the track at 100mph which dropped him briefly to fifth when his Exocet Racing Audi was hit by Gordon Shedden’s factory Honda.

In race 2, again from second on the grid, Rob made his move for the lead at the first bend and looked to have made it only to be shoved off the track by Shedden’s team-mate Neal. He eventually finished in third.

In race 3 he was comfortably holding seventh position and looking to make up more places before retiring in a collision with factory MG driver Jason Plato. His Rob Austin Racing team now has just a week and a half to return to base in Pershore and prepare Rob’s Audi ‘Sherman’ in time for the BTCC’s next three rounds on Sat 6/Sun 7 Sept at Northamptonshire’s Rockingham circuit where last year he achieved his and his squad’s maiden race win in touring cars.

Rob will go there 11th in the BTCC Drivers’ standings just ahead of two former double champions, Swiss Alain Menu and Italian Fabrizio Giovanardi.

Rob, from Evesham, said: “In essence it’s been a very successful weekend. Everyone in the team, from the mechanics to all our sponsors, have really pulled together very well and we’ve capitalised on a circuit where we know we can be strong – I also love Knockhill and being on the podium here, particularly with such a huge and enthusiastic crowd – is always a special experience. It’ll be very important to do the same at Rockingham in two weeks.

“But while I’m delighted with our results I can’t help feeling frustrated – I really wanted a win and had the car and opportunity to achieve that in races 1 and 2. Unfortunately I was denied that because certain drivers don’t think I deserve to be at the front and I shouldn’t be allowed to overtake them. Given time I’m sure they will come to realise that they can only get away with treating people like that for so long. I know I’m not the only one who’s fed up with it.

“But I won’t let it affect what I’m doing on track or the way our team goes about our racing. If they want to do that then fine but it’s not our style. We’ll continue to fight fair and go for the wins at Rockingham.”

Rob’s team-mate Hunter Abbott (Maidenhead) experienced a frustrating day after qualifying a best-ever 11th fastest out of 31 drivers in his AlcoSense Breathalysers Racing Audi. In race 1 his car suffered considerable front and rear-end damage in two separate incidents. From 25th on the grid he rose to 16th in race 2 and he finished in the same position in race 3.

Hunter explained: “It’s been trying to say the least. Race 1 really screwed things up for me when I took a big hit on the rear in the first few corners. It has such a knock-on effect for the rest of your day and from there I was stuck in the cut and thrust of the midfield battles. It’s a great shame as the car in qualifying had felt great and I’d been looking to challenge for some top ten points finishes.”

Photo credit: Rob Austin Racing / Phil Laughton Photography