First Indy success of the season for Handy and Austin
Rob Austin secured his and Handy Motorsport’s first Independents Trophy victory of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Oulton Park on Sunday after taking seventh overall in the last of the day’s action-packed contests.
Finishing ninth in Round 10 and then an improved eighth in Round 11, where he was also in the Independents top three, the Evesham driver was the best-placed non-manufacturer in the weekend’s final encounter, bagging an important result for the Swindon squad.
His healthy haul of points means the Toyota Avensis driver has closed to within only four points of the class top three. In the overall standings, Austin remains inside the top 10 and Handy moved to fifth in the Independent Teams standings.
“Before the weekend I had aspirations of fighting for pole, but we underestimated the rear-wheel drive cars and the Hondas looked to be in whole different league”, said Austin. “The issue was compounded by not hooking a lap up in qualifying but after that, I couldn’t have asked for three better results really. Taking three good scores and an Independents’ win was great.
“It would’ve been nice to get a bit of luck with the reverse grid for race three but, again, the Hondas were always going to be strong. We did a good solid job this weekend, nothing special, but a good job nonetheless.”
Looking back at the weekend, Team Principal Simon Belcher said: “From my point of view, I’m really happy. We were strong on pace at the first couple of events this season, but didn’t take away too many points, but we turned that around at Thruxton and I wanted the same again at Oulton.
“The rear-wheel drive cars certainly had an advantage so we knew we’d be looking at ‘best of the rest’ really. Rob posted some good results which have moved us up in the Independents’ Trophy and brought us more into contention for that now. Taking the win was fantastic, obviously, and it’s nice to take another trophy back to base. We learned a lot from Oulton, too.”