Rob Austin delighted with his rostrum return
Worcestershire’s Rob Austin returned to the Dunlop British Touring Car podium last weekend with a superb second place result at Cheshire’s Oulton Park circuit that has helped to move him back into the top ten in the championship standings.
Rob’s podium finish aboard his Exocet Racing Audi came in the second of the day’s three races after he dealt with intense pressure from the following factory MG of double champion Jason Plato to cross the line in third place. He was later promoted to second position when eBay Motors’ Rob Collard was adjudged to have re-passed Austin under Safety Car conditions.
Austin’s performance was not just a one-off, however, as his front-running form was on show throughout the weekend.
Sixth in qualifying – his best of the season so far – was immediately improved upon with a top five finish in race one. Then came his fantastic podium, which meant he would line up seventh for the final showdown.
The impressive pace of his Exocet Racing Audi A4 was again there for all to see when he hauled his car back into the top five to cement a trio of results that marked his most successful weekend of 2014.
“It’s been an awesome weekend for the team and all our great sponsors and fans,” enthused Austin. “The pace has been there in both wet and dry conditions and we’re right back where we belong – right towards the front – and that is against some world class opposition.
“Race one was pretty lonely for me and race three was all about not dropping it in very difficult conditions. Race two of course has been our big highlight. Holding off Jason was key but boy did he put me through the ringer! Collard then slowed too early before we got to the safety car signals so I was straight past – when he re-overtook me after we’d past the first signal I knew he’d be penalised but I still had Jason to deal with when the race re-started. The chequered flag was a welcome sight.
“But perhaps an even bigger high than when I crossed the line was the reaction from the crowd around the podium. I was blown away by how many people there were and the noise they made for us!”
Although he faced a challenging weekend at Croft in 2013, Austin expects the upward trend to continue for his squad this time around after making a number of improvements to his machine. Time will inevitably tell and thankfully we don’t have too long to wait as the UK’s premier championship will be roaring into the north-east in just over two weeks’ time!