Rob Austin is hoping to be able to continue his strong from at Knockhill in this weekend’s British Touring Car Championship races in Scotland, where the Handy Motorsport driver has historically been strong.
Whilst part of Austin’s success at Knockhill is undoubtedly attributable to the fact he was in rear-wheel drive for his first three BTCC outings at the track between 2013 and 2015, he still heads north of the border with confidence.
Austin famously took pole in 2013 when driving his self-run Audi, and he collected four podium finishes at the circuit in 2013 and 2014.
On his first attempt at the circuit in front-wheel drive touring car machinery last year, Austin was still strong, picking up three points finishes and ending the weekend with a high of sixth.
Having endured his worst weekend of the season so far last time out at Snetterton, Austin is keen to bounce back strong this weekend.
“After a tough weekend at Snett, that saw us unceremoniously removed from two of the three races, I am looking forward to getting back on track at Knockhill”, said the 36-year-old. “I absolutely love the Knockhill circuit and the support from the fans north of the border is always incredible.
“I am one of the highest average finishers on the grid at Knockhill and I believe the Handy Motorsport Toyota will suit it as well as it can for a front-wheel drive car, so I am definitely aiming to keep that going and come away with a good points haul.
“Obviously the rear-wheel drive cars are very strong this year and there are some cars out there that still have a power advantage.
“Knockhill’s tight final turn, followed by a long uphill drag to the finish line, really favours the RWD traction and those with a little extra under the hood. The rest of the circuit rewards a good chassis and a brave driver though and we tick both of those boxes.”
Austin voiced specific concerns about the boost levels of some of his competitors, including those of the Mountune-engined Ford Focus competitors.
“Hopefully we can make up for the deficit and be in with a shout overall, otherwise our target will be to win the front-wheel drive, non-Ford engine race!
“It’s important to score as heavily as we can to make up for some lost ground in the championship after Snetterton – that’s the plan.”