Sunday, September 7, 2014

BTCC: Austin vows race day fightback at Rockingham‏

Rob Austin Racing Press Release

Worcestershire’s Rob Austin (Evesham) was disappointed to qualify a much lower than anticipated 13th for tomorrow’s three Dunlop British Touring Car rounds at Northamptonshire’s Rockingham circuit but believes he can still fight for podium results in the races.

The Exocet Racing Audi star set a best qualifying lap time of 1m23.578s to give himself a seventh row starting position when he lines up on the race 1 grid tomorrow.

Rob commented: “I am very, very, very disappointed – gutted in fact. I couldn’t get the car working to its optimum and even though I am only four tenths of a second off fourth the level of competition in the BTCC means I’m a lot further back than I was aiming for – I really felt a top six was on the cards.

“It’s left me needing to do a lot of overtaking in race 1 tomorrow to give myself a good grid position for race 2 but I believe we have the pace in race trim to come back at a lot of the cars ahead of us. Podiums are still possible and that is what I am going for, but race 1 will play a big part in that. Right now I’m off for a long, quiet sit down and a big think into the night…”

For Rob’s team-mate Hunter Abbott (Maidenhead), this afternoon’s qualifying session ended early when his AlcoSense Breathalysers Racing Audi cruelly suffered a terminal loss of drive on his first flying lap. It meant he was unable to set a competitive lap time so will have to start tomorrow’s opening race from 31st and last on the huge grid.

Hunter said: “I was towards the end of the lap and suddenly there was virtually nothing when I put my foot down. Luckily there was just enough left to crawl back to the pit lane in first gear but that was it, game over. The team really went to town on the car to try and fix it and get me back out there, but clearly it’s something major that's gone wrong.

“It is frustrating as Rob and I had set near-identical lap times in the earlier second free practice session. I was confident of qualifying inside the top half but now I’ve really got it all to do tomorrow. But Rob obviously had a win here last year and we know the Audi is very good in race trim around here as well so let’s see how far I can get…”

Tomorrow’s three BTCC races from Rockingham will be broadcast live as part of a mammoth seven hour show on ITV4 (10.45am-5.45pm).

Photo credit: Rob Austin Racing / Phil Laughton Photography