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Rob Austin ‘excited’ for new season after productive Oulton Park test

Rob Austin is confident Handy Motorsport have continued to scale their development curve after a productive two-day test in changeable conditions at Oulton Park this week.

Austin completed over 100 laps of the Cheshire circuit in the newly rebuilt Toyota Avensis, also taking the opportunity to test the latest specification of Dunlop tyres.

The test marks the start of a comprehensive pre-season programme for Simon Belcher’s outfit, which is aiming to improve upon podium finishes last season in it’s fourth consecutive season of competition in the British Touring Car Championship.

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“The two days at Oulton went very well”, reflected Austin.

“The boys have made a beautiful job of building the car, its ahead of schedule and absolutely immaculate as you would expect from the Handy Motorsport team.

“The weather hindered our track time a little, but we anticipated that by booking two days rather than just one. Out of the box the car was much more hooked up than when we raced here last year and that served as a great example of the progress we made through the second half of 2016.”

Though some drivers have questioned the extent to which Dunlop’s new tyre will affect the racing, other than the avoidance of punctures at low pressure, Austin commended the championship suppliers for providing the field with an exciting new compound ahead of the new season.

“It’s a really nice tyre, full credit to Dunlop for all of their hard work developing it.” he commented.

“We completed a good number of laps, worked through our carefully planned programme and we certainly left Oulton with the feeling we have continued on the steep development curve we were on through the second half of the 2016 season.

“It’s got me very excited for the start of the season, the car feels strong and well balanced and I’m feeling very confident about going up against the rest of the field. Brands [Hatch – venue for the championship curtain raiser on 1st/2nd April] can’t come soon enough! Before then we have a very comprehensive test schedule organised and a lot of developments to continue working on.”

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