Monday, October 13, 2014

BTCC: "We can hold our heads high" says Austin after tough finale

Rob Austin Racing Press Release

Worcestershire team Rob Austin Racing will not remember its final day of the 2014 Dunlop British Touring Car season with fondness but can go into the winter break proud of its achievements during the year and having yet again demonstrated the fighting spirit that has endeared it so many thousands of trackside and TV fans.

Drivers Rob Austin (Evesham) and Hunter Abbott (Maidenhead) both suffered severe damage to their Audi A4s in a first corner pile-up in the first of three races on Sunday around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

But Thanks to a miraculous repair job from his crew inside just 90 minutes Rob’s Exocet Racing car ‘Sherman’ was able to take the start for race 2 and was joined in race 3 by Hunter’s AlcoSense Breathalysers Racing machine ‘Panzer’. The team’s efforts did not go unnoticed with huge applause around the circuit from an appreciative, near sell-out trackside crowd as the cars left the pit lane for the start.

Rob was able to finish 15th in race 3 for a championship point. He finishes 12th in the drivers’ standings in a season which brought him and the team their second BTCC race win as well as three more podium results. Hunter finishes his maiden BTCC season 20th out of 32 competitors with a pair of impressive top ten race results to show.

Team principal Rob commented: “Sure Brands Hatch hasn’t gone to plan but what the team has shown yet again is an incredible fighting spirit to beat the odds and fix both cars so they could race again. The accident in race 1 left me wondering if either car would come out to play again but my team simply do not know when they are beaten – most teams would have called it a day but not us. What they did was incredible.

“It has been a season of highs and lows – the highlight of course being the win at Rockingham – but we’ve really held our own against bigger budget opposition in what has now grown into one of the three most competitive motor racing championships in the world alongside Formula 1 and NASCAR.

“An awful lot of that is also down to our fantastic sponsors Exocet, DUO and AlcoSense as well as all our equally enthusiastic partners and all the public who have joined our Owners Club. Their passion really keeps us going and I cannot thank them enough. Everybody can really hold their heads high.

“From here we will go back to base in Pershore, rebuild both cars and then, for the first time thanks to our sponsors, look towards a proper winter testing programme to make sure we come back in 2015 even stronger and faster. I can’t wait for it to begin all over again.”

Hunter said: “My first season in the BTCC has been a real baptism of fire, but I have to say that I have never enjoyed a season of motor racing as much in my life. I very much intend being back with Rob Austin Racing in 2015 and I am very much looking forward to all the planning and testing we have lined up in the winter months.

“There’s no other team I’d want to be with and I know from what is happening behind the scenes that we can be very competitive every time out next year. Like Rob, I have to thank the terrific team of people who work on my car – they have really been put through the ringer at times this season but every time have come out on top, refusing to be beaten.

“I’ve had to learn a whole new racecraft which is required in touring cars and there have been some desperately unlucky moments which haven’t reflected our true form, but I believe everything is in place for a really big year for Rob Austin Racing when we come back in early April.”

Rob Austin Racing would like to congratulate Colin Turkington and WSR/eBay Motors for winning the BTCC title at Brands Hatch.

Photo credit: Rob Austin Racing / Phil Laughton Photography