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Rob Austin hopeful despite rule change

Rob Austin is hopeful that he can replicate his Oulton Park results at Croft, despite a regulation change which means that the Audi A4 will have to run a longer first gear.

The majority of the 31 car field in the 2014 British Touring Car Championship is made up of Front Wheel Drive cars and after the trip to Cheshire, the teams have complained about the Rear Wheel Drive advantage at the start of races, an advantage which Austin and his Audi A4 – Sherman – used to full effect at Oulton Park as he jumped into the top three in the second race and was able to defend his position all the way to the flag.

“We don’t ever complain when the FWD cars have a clear advantage, which has been more often than not this year. Believe me, they have far more advantages in both qualifying and race trim – it’s just ours is more visible than theirs,” said the Evesham based racer.

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Austin also questions whether the main complainers would still have their issues if they were to swap cars: “If they feel that we have such an advantage I wonder how the works teams who have been most vocal on the subject would feel about swapping cars. I’m sure their stories would change very very quickly!”

Despite the regulations change ahead of the fifth round of the campaign, Austin believes that the 2014 campaign has been fantastic thus far.

“Also it’s my opinion that the racing in the BTCC has been fantastic this year, we have a full and world class grid and the championship is one of the best in the world… So why change it?

“Then again the BTCC has an excellent track record for getting it right when it comes to amending the technical regulations so it keeps the field tightly bunched and the racing close. Let’s hope they have got it right again because it’s cost me a fortune to implement the changes.”

After a trio of top five results at Oulton Park last time out – including his first podium finish of the campaign – the Exocet Racing heads to North Yorkshire in optimistic mood.

“After returning to the podium at Oulton of course I want more,” said Austin. “We expected to be in the ball park at Oulton and came away with 2 P5s and a second. At Croft I am confident we can have an equally strong weekend or maybe better… who knows, maybe even a win. I think it’s all possible for us this weekend.”

Austin predicts that Croft will throw up three action packed races as the layout of the circuit lends itself to that type of racing – something which was missing from the Oulton Park races as the circuit layout lost two overtaking opportunities.

“Croft is also a real driver’s circuit – a bit old school with an element of peril to it like Oulton, and lends itself more to traditional BTCC door-to-door exciting racing which I was really sad not to see so much of last time out,” continues the Exocet Racing driver.

“The fight of a BTCC race is why I love the championship so much and although it saves me a few quid in doors and wing mirrors when we have a quiet weekend I would rather spend that money and get stuck in.

“I predict three very close action-packed races for the crowds. And that’s another thing at Croft – the fans are amazing. They are like the BTCC’s equivalent to the Ferrari Tifosi in Italy and as a result the atmosphere is always electric there.”

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