Having made the decision to step away from team ownership within the British Touring Car Championship after five seasons, Handy Motorsport’s Rob Austin has shown increased consistency in his Toyota Avensis, as he is currently sixth in the Independent Trophy standings at the halfway point of the season.
With two welcome points finishes for Simon Belcher’s outfit at the Brands Hatch Indy season opener, Austin has been able to show that he is versatile in both front and rear-wheel drive machinery.
This has resulted in two top ten points finishes this year so far, with the best result of seventh coming at the final race at Thruxton back in May. Nevertheless, Austin will have to watch out for Jeff Smith, who is just seven points behind in the overall standings, as Eurotech Racing will still potentially progress, despite Daniel Lloyd’s withdrawal from the team.
Austin, who now has over 150 race starts to his credit, is happy that the direction the team is now heading will see further improvements over the coming races.
“We made some good progress at the Snetterton test, we got back to where we were at Media Day and showed good pace”, said the 35-year-old, who was consistently running in the top ten throughout the recent Dunlop two-day test back in June.
“Since then we’ve been on the back-foot but we now feel we’re on the right path. The car is good and I know we have some serious untapped potential.”
Belcher explained that despite set-up choices and direction causing their respective dramas, the team has been working hard in the summer break to improve towards further consistency within the sharper end of the grid.
“We really are going into the second half of the season with a renewed confidence after such a successful couple of days during the tyre test,” he said, with the Swindon-based team also fighting in the top six for the Independents Team Trophy.
“Obviously, we won’t know for sure until we get into qualifying at Snetterton, and that’s been one of the biggest challenges for us this year, but in the test we were quick on merit and, most importantly, Rob was happy with the set-up and balance of the car. We’re aiming high for the rest of the year.”