Rob Austin Racing had a promising start to the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in the opener at Brands Hatch this weekend.
Rob Austin was an early pace setter during Saturday's practice and qualifying sessions with high expectations for his 2012 specification Audi A4. Frustrations ran high as he managed seventh after an interrupted qualifying lap. He said: “The car feels fantastic but I caught traffic every time I was on a flier, I know it's the same for everyone but sometimes you just catch it badly although it still feels good to know the car is capable of front row after looking at the data”.
Race one turned into a careful drive for Austin after a problem developed with a broken NGTC anti-roll bar blade which left him stuck behind fast paced Mat Jackson despite a great battle between the pair, for most of the day.
Austin showed what the Audi A4 was capable of, right in the mix at the front of the field in race two fighting for position, closing in on the leading bunch, finishing in a respectable fifth place.
The fight between the pair continued into race three after being placed in fourth after the reverse grid and with a good start seeing him up into third, Rob soon had Redstone Racing's Jackson hot on his tail.
A red flag caused by a pile up of cars from an oil spill from Mat Jackson's Ford Focus at druids, saw Austin restart the shortened 20 lap race from second. In his highest racing position of the day, it wasn't meant to be for the racer, when damaged caused by a trip into the gravel resulted in the Audi's engine to overheat and lose power.
Austin explained: “The tyres had just switched on and we had started making good progress into Collard's lead and started to break Jordan behind.”
He continued: “Sadly the engine was starting to overheat and we were soon really down on power, after that I was a sitting duck. I carried on and managed to finish but I've destroyed the engine, in any other circumstances and I would have pulled in and saved it but I want to win this championship.”
Austin leaves Brands Hatch fifth in the overall drivers' championship and third in the independents, five points adrift of eBay Motors' Rob Collard.