Crash.Net BTCC News
Austin slams driving standards
14 June 2013
Rob Austin has hit out at rival Jeff Smith after a clash between the two in the final Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the weekend at Oulton Park.
Austin had followed up a 13th place finish in the opening race of the weekend with eighth in race two, allowing him to line up third on the grid for race three when the top ten on the grid for reversed.
Making the most of the starting prowess of his rear-wheel drive Audi, Austin blasted into the lead when the lights went out and stayed out front until contact from Smith's Pirtek Racing Honda forced him wide at Lodge.
Forced out of the lead, Austin would eventually slip back to fifth spot at the finish and was less than impressed with the way in which his bid for a first win had been ended.
“I'm not naming names but unfortunately I've been barged off the track by someone whose driving is seriously lacking in a few departments,” he said. “First he turned into me trying a move that was never going to come off and that seriously put my car's steering out. He still couldn't get past so clearly decided the only way past was to ram me.
“I'd half expected it from him but was still disappointed when it came particularly as we were maybe on course for that first win in the BTCC.”
There were positives for Austin to take away from the weekend however, with the final race seeing his WIX Racing/Rob Austin Racing outfit take its best finish of the campaign to date after team-mate Will Bratt followed him over the line in sixth.
“To have both our cars in the top six is still a very positive note to end the day – we've overtaken a lot of people today and, I hope, put on a great show for the fans and TV viewers,” he said. ”The support we've received yet again from all our sponsors, partners and the fans in the paddock, around the track and on social media has been phenomenal.
“Sure we've got more pace to find to get us back to where we belong, particularly in qualifying. If we can start qualifying in the top ten again then I believe we'll be a serious threat to the others as we're always at our strongest in race trim.”
Austin switched from his previous Tommy Field-prepared engine to the TOCA engine for the Oulton Park weekend, with Bratt set to follow suit at Croft next time out.