Top 10 BTCC Drivers of the Year 2011: 9: Rob Austin

Team: Rob Austin Racing Car: Audi A4 (NGTC) Wins: 0 Podiums: 1 Championship points: 26 Championship position: 16th

When you consider that he wasn't even supposed to be driving for his team as it graduated to the BTCC, Rob Austin ended up making quite an impression over the course of 2011 as he battled hard to turn the new NGTC-specification Audi A4 into a front-runner.

After seeing Dave Pinkney leave when the Audi wasn't ready for the season-opener at Brands Hatch, Austin stepped into the car at Donington Park but the first half of the year was largely spent ironing out teething problems with the new car.

Having changed engine builder after Thruxton, and with the summer break giving the team time to carry out some much needed testing, Austin came out fighting for the second half of the season with the Audi showing much improved speed - highlighted by a fastest lap and then a tenth place finish at Snetterton.

A triple DNF at Knockhill wasn't just reward for the impressive speed shown in qualifying the previous day but three fine top ten finishes followed at Rockingham - including a maiden podium finish in the final race of the weekend.

The final race of the season again saw Austin score points to end his year on a high, with the Audi package being one of the most improved over the course of 2011.

Havign said from the start that he wanted to run at the front, Austin worked hard to achieve his goal and for the BTCC's 'Mr Cool', big things are now expected in 2012.

BTCC Driver of the Year Top 10: 10. Tom Onslow-Cole