Monday, August 4, 2014

BTCC: Double BTCC points finish for Austin at Snetterton‏

Rob Austin Racing Press Release

Worcestershire’s Rob Austin (Evesham) was twice in the points in today’s three Dunlop British Touring Car races at Norfolk’s Snetterton circuit – results that keep him firmly in the hunt for a top ten placing in Britain’s premier motor racing championship.

Rob started the day’s first race – the 100th in the BTCC for his Pershore-based Rob Austin Racing team – from 13th on the 31-car grid and he converted that into an 11th place finish in his Exocet Racing Audi. Thirteenth in race 2 followed for more points but his chances of scoring again in race 3 were cruelly dashed when his car’s power steering failed on the way to the starting grid meaning he was unable to break into the hallowed top 15.

But with Knockhill, Fife (23-24 Aug) and Rockingham, Northants (6-7 Sept) – where last year he achieved his team’s first-ever pole position and race win respectively – he remains optimistic of closing back in on a top ten championship position.

“We’ve not quite had the raw pace at Snetterton so it was important to take what we could and I don’t believe we could have wrung any more from the car today,” commented Rob. “Race 3 was a great shame as I felt a top 10 was on the cards but instead, with the power steering gone, I really had to man up to muscle the car along. The physical effort to drive one of these things with no power steering is massive.

“Still we’ve come away with some points at least and the gap to 10th is very do-able. We’re 26 off with two of our much stronger circuits to come in the next month or so. It’ll be hugely important that we make the most of those two events.

“I’m also immensely proud of our team having achieved a century in the BTCC. It’s a fantastic championship to be a part of – even though there are plenty of highs and lows along the way the incredible effort that goes on behind the scenes is worth it all! I prefer to think of this as our first 100 with many more races to come in the future. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to the brilliant sponsors, partners and fans we have for going through it all with us. Their support never ceases to humble and amaze me.”

Meanwhile Rob’s team-mate Hunter Abbott (Maidenhead) was unable to score at Snetterton. Notably his AlcoSense Breathalysers Racing Audi sported ‘Just Married’ windscreen strips following his recent marriage to long-time partner Susie!

There was also a bizarre moment for him in race 2 today. Hunter explained: “I got turned around by another driver and the impact knocked the car’s electrics off. I was stranded so got out of the car, switched them back on, climbed back in, did my belts up and got on my way again but by then I was too far behind to get anywhere near the points. There might have been a whiff of a point or two in race 3 but I made a tiny error which led to a spin at high speed.

“It’s been tough to get the car working to my liking at Snetterton, but I’m really optimistic for Knockhill and Rockingham. It’s important to remember that different circuits play to different cars’ strengths and, given what happened for the team 12 months ago, I’m sure Rob and I can both be right towards the sharp end there.”

Photo credit: Rob Austin Racing / Phil Laughton Photography