Rob Austin says his incident with Daniel Welch in the final Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Silverstone left him feeling “gutted, embarrassed, and sick with regret” after a promising day for his team ended in a “deserved” disqualification.
Austin started the day 17th on the grid after having his fastest lap time deleted in qualifying but hauled his Audi A4 up to fifth at the flag – a position he would earn in race two as well.
It marked a change in fortune for the Rob Austin Racing outfit, who have suffered badly at the hands of Lady Luck this season. Unfortunately, in race three, two collisions with Welch meant the day ended on a sour note.
Welch had charged through the pack in race two to eighth, after retiring from race one, putting his Proton Persona third on the reversed grid, but a poor start dropped him behind Austin’s Audi. As he attempted to pass him at Copse early on, Austin turned in and the two lost a number of places – and the pair made contact again later in the race as well.
“Gutted, embarrassed, sick with regret… I just don’t know what I was thinking,” he reflected. “We could have potentially shared the podium and I ruined both our races.
“It was 110% my fault, I feel terrible! I know how much work he puts in to it and how much that result would have meant to him, because he’s a mate. I understand it because I put the same blood, sweat and tears in to my car, as do both of our teams.”
Austin was later excluded and given four points on his license for the incident at Copse. It was a punishment that the fan-favourite accepted, adding: “I took away a potentially brilliant result from him, his team, his Dad and from my team, supporters, and fans as well….all with one stupid moment. This is a top line championship and we are supposed to be top line drivers.
“Top line drivers shouldn’t make mistakes like these and I deserved the disqualification.”
You can read a fuller interview with Rob and Dan in the first issue of TheReview, theCheckeredFlag.co.uk’s new e-magazine, out tomorrow.