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Handy Motorsport elated with maiden podium success

After a difficult start to the first half of this year’s British Touring Car Championship, it was all smiles for Handy Motorsport’s Rob Austin and team boss Simon Belcher, as the Swindon-based outfit took their maiden first podium in the final dramatic race at Snetterton.

Austin took his first trip to the podium since winning the final race at Rockingham in 2014, having fought his way from ninth on the grid, and kept the BMR pair of Jason Plato and Colin Turkington at bay, along with a charging Andrew Jordan.

“It’s been a long time, having struggled all last year, so I needed a change,” said the 35-year-old to TouringCars.Net, who also won the Independents category for race 18 of the 2016 season.

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“It’s a long term thing, and it sold me on Handy Motorsport, and the package with Simon and the team. I never once lost faith and I need thank Simon and a lot of other people for believing in me when I didn’t sometimes.”

Belcher said that the suspension issue that Austin suffered during qualifying on Saturday, meant that the results had been gained “the hard way.”

“It’s made it all the more rewarding, having made up ten places in race one, up to ninth in the second, so we didn’t get the luck in the ball draw for race three,” said Belcher to TouringCars.Net after the podium ceremony, as his team now is in sixth place for the Independents Team Trophy on 190 points, just one behind Team BKR.

“It’s only been half a season to gel, when you consider how long people like [Matt] Neal and [Gordon] Shedden have gelling and driving together, so they have a lot of experience. But Rob’s only 35, so he’s got a few years left in him yet (laughs).

“It’s great to get this first one of our backs, and I know from my racing that the first one is always the hardest and now we’ve got on the podium, second place is the only next thing to celebrate, we’ll just keep aiming high and try and mix it up at Knockhill.”

Austin is now fifth in the Independents Trophy on 178 points, 30 behind WIX Racing’s Adam Morgan heading to Scotland in two weeks’ time, and is looking forward to a track that he has raced well at in multiple different categories.

“It’s a rear wheel drive and a big power circuit, where you’ll see the rear wheel drives and the likes of Motorbase fighting at the front.

“I’ve always gone well there, plus it’s a circuit I really enjoy, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.”

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