Austin looks Handy on maiden run
Rob Austin produced an unsurprisingly rapid showing during his maiden test at the wheel of Handy Motorsport’s brand new Toyota Avensis in Portugal at the weekend – an outing which left the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship squad feeling justifiably excited for the 2016 season.
Adapting to the front-wheel drive Toyota impressively well, having raced rear-wheel drive cars in the BTCC in recent years, Pershore driver Austin concluded the outing at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve within just a few tenths of the quickest touring car on track
Reflecting on the test, team principal Simon Belcher said: “I’ve no doubt if we’d had the benefit of the full three days, we would have been even quicker. Considering the problem we had with the engine, and the amount of testing time we missed, we all returned to the UK feeling extremely positive – the car is quick and, as we already knew, so is Rob!
“Our guys then worked through the night on the second day to fit the engine so we could get Rob back out for the final day – it was a real team effort and everyone did a great job. Unsurprisingly, Rob adapted very quickly to the front-wheel drive and by the end of the test he was within just a few tenths of the quickest touring car. All in all, it’s been a very positive start for everyone.”
With additional testing in the UK scheduled over the next couple of weeks, Austin’s first ‘official’ appearance as a Handy Motorsport driver will come during the annual BTCC Season Launch at Donington Park in Leicestershire on Tuesday 22nd March.
The season itself commences over the weekend 2nd/3rd April at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent.