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Simon Belcher pleased after another hat-trick of points for Rob Austin

Simon Belcher left Croft in good spirits after Handy Motorsport’s Rob Austin claimed a hat-trick of points finishes for the Swindon-based outfit, moving them back into sixth in the Independent Teams standings in the process.

The team had previously cited qualifying performance as their achilles heel heading to the triple-header in Yorkshire, and Austin’s fastest time of 1:24.457 around the 2.13 mile circuit left him just 16th, some 0.849 seconds adrift of pole-sitter Colin Turkington.

However, on a day that saw Austin celebrate his 150th race in the British Touring Car Championship, the Evesham-based driver fought back to claim a hat-trick of points finishes, dovetailing 11th in race one with a brace of 12th place finishes in the last two contests.

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The end result leaves Austin 15th overall in the Drivers championship, seven points clear of Jeff Smith and 36 adrift of BKR’s Aron Smith in front. Handy Motorsport sit 12th in the HiQ Teams Championship, and sixth in the Independents category.

And Belcher admitted it was the Volkswagen CC of Smith that proved to be a thorn in Austin’s side at points during the weekend.

“We are pleased with three strong points finishes but left Croft feeling we could have picked up more”, said team principal Simon Belcher,

“Unfortunately, we got stuck behind Aron Smith in a couple of races and the VW has so much straight-line speed it is very hard to pass.”

He also pointed towards Austin’s positive development with the Toyota Avensis as a positive point heading into the second half of the season, and believes before long Handy Motorsport will be achieving far greater results.

“We really have the car in the window now and Rob is becoming more and more comfortable with it, and the team too, so it’s just a matter of time before we start getting rewarded at the sharp end for all the hard work the team and Rob are putting in.”

He also confirmed the team has some testing and potential updates to be trialled before the next triple-header at Snetterton in late July following the series’ annual summer break.

“Next week we have a two day tyre test at Snetterton and have a raft of developments to test, which we hope will keep us moving forward.”

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