Handy Motorsport's Rob Austin admitted he was already confident his Toyota Avensis was capable of securing pole position during today's British Touring Car Championship qualifying at Donington Park.

Following Ashley Sutton's dramatic post-qualifying exclusion, Austin has inherited pole for tomorrow's opening race having initially set the second fastest time behind the Subaru.

The Toyota Avensis driver has featured towards the top of the timesheets throughout the entirety of the event so far but needed to recover from the tail end in the shootout following a tricky first set of runs.

"I'd have taken P2 obviously. Front row, I'm not going to argue with that. We knew we had a car good enough for pole today. That's what I really wanted. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do it," Austin told Crash.net.

"I tensed up a lot and made some mistakes. After the first set of tyres I was 18th. The red flag fortunately gave me a chance to have a stern word with myself. I had a chat with myself and got it sorted.

"That lap came together really nicely. I got a good tow from Aiden [Moffat]. I'm just really happy. It's not a massive surprise to us. We're happy so hopefully we can convert it tomorrow."

Having been unable to translate his promising pace into consistent results at Brands Hatch, Austin said he realised this weekend presented his outfit 'with a window to shine' without running any ballast.

"With all the top-ten carrying ballast we knew that opened a window for us to shine here because we're ballast free," Austin continued.

"I'm aware it could change around in race two with the ballast so it could be quite tricky but I'm up for a fight.

"I think in this championship you've got to play the long game. I might have to. I might not have the pace but I really want it [the win]. I'm going for it and I'll fight to the death for it!"

 

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