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Understeer leaves Rob Austin unhappy

Rob Austin was left feeling frustrated after qualifying for the opening round of the 2014 British Touring Car Championship, with the Exocet Racing driver qualifying in 11th after experiencing understeer on Saturday.

Austin finished the morning’s first practice session in 11th, following it up with 12th fastest in the day’s second practice. Whilst Austin is in the top half of the grid and just 0.260 seconds from pole, the Worcestershire racer was still left feeling a little disappointed with his performances.

“I’m quite happy but frustrated at the same time,” admitted Austin. “We’ve still got this bit of understeer which I’d say is costing us around two tenths of a second. I genuinely believe the car is good enough for pole position. It’s nice to be right in the ball park time-wise, but you can see why I’m a bit miffed with it.”

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Austin added that he was pleased with his car’s raw pace – with the season’s opening qualifying session being the only time all car’s run without success ballast.

“Looking at the positives that qualifying session is the only time all year all the grid will qualify with no success ballast in their cars so to be on the pace straight out of the blocks shows our pre-season testing form was true,” added Austin. “I also believe our race pace will be stronger tomorrow than a number of cars who will be starting in front of me.”

Hunter Abbott, Austin’s new team-mate and BTCC débutant, qualified in a creditable 21st for his first race in the series, 0.773 seconds off the pole position time. Abbott admitted afterwards that it took some time to get used to the amount of traffic around the short 1.9 km circuit.

“My first BTCC qualifying session started with a bit of a bang – a number of cars I was in the middle of all shuffled up and I had to take to the grass on a new set of tyres to avoid any contact!” admitted Abbott. “Other than that it was fairly straightforward but it’s all about time in the car and learning how to get the most out of these tyres.

“Like Rob I think there are a number of cars in front of me on the grid who won’t be as strong in race trim tomorrow so I’m aiming to make up places, push for results in the top 15 and score championship points.”

Sunday’s first race takes place at 11:45, with race two at 14:15 and race three at 17:00.

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