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Rob Austin looking to make most of ‘unpredictable’ Brands weekend

Rob Austin insisted he was focused on being in the right place at the right time this weekend, heading into what he described as ‘the most unpredictable event’ in the British Touring Car Championship as the 2014 season reaches its climax at Brands Hatch.

The team owner and driver had high hopes of a strong weekend at Silverstone ten days ago, but after a ninth-place finish in the opening race, Austin was unable to return to the points following a race two retirement, and now lies 30 points behind Aron Smith, who occupies tenth in the standings.

But despite losing ground in the battle for a top ten championship finish, Austin – who hasn’t tended to perform well around the historic Grand Prix configuration at Brands – was nevertheless still keen to end the season on a high, and believed the key to a good showing will be to steer clear of trouble.

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“While I love the Brands GP track for all its history and from a pure driving pleasure point of view, for some reason I’ve never fully clicked with it,” said Austin. “Every driver, myself included, wants to end their season on a high with the best results possible going into the long winter break but that is much harder to achieve at this event simply because it is the grand finale.

“Drivers traditionally use it as an excuse to settle any scores or just go plain crazy with a win or bust mentality. Or both! It’s the most unpredictable event on the calendar so apart from being on the pace it’s doubly important to try and make sure you are in the right place at the right time to capitalise when it goes wrong for other people around you. And it will go wrong for people…”

The weekend’s proceedings will also mark the end of second driver Hunter Abbott’s rookie season in the championship. The 34-year-old’s campaign has at times been a frustrating one, with five points finishes – including two top ten results – balanced against seven retirements.

Following a torrid weekend at Silverstone, Abbott was eager to return to Brands, the scene of his debut at the end of March, having previously enjoyed success at the Kent circuit.

“I’m looking forward to Brands GP,” said Abbott. “It’s my favourite circuit in the UK, a proper old school circuit which gives you such a good feeling when you’re on the limit.

“I’ve got some good memories from 2008 when I took a win in a one-off appearance in the Ginetta Supercup – Rob’s dad Richard got stuck at the airport and couldn’t make it for qualifying so I stepped into his G50 without any practice, took pole position and a win. A great weekend!”

Photo courtesy of Phil Laughton Photography.

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