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Rob Austin ‘quietly confident’ ahead of season opener

Rob Austin is ‘quietly confident’ ahead of the opening British Touring Car Championship round of the season after further progress with Handy Motorsport during their latest testing runs.

Austin, who delivered the independent outfit’s maiden podium finishes last season behind the wheel of the Toyota Avensis, has spent the last fortnight clocking further mileage around both Oulton Park and Brands Hatch, the setting for the series’ curtain-raiser in three weeks time [1st-2nd April].

The team has placed particular emphasis on understanding the new compound of tyre Dunlop are supplying for this years championship.

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“Going into the new season I’d say I’m quietly confident”, admitted Austin.

“I know how competitive this championship is, this will be my seventh year in the BTCC, and the depth of competition gets deeper and deeper every season. I’m not setting any expectations specifically, but we’re definitely in a good position to put up a damn good fight!”

“I’m really, really happy with how testing has gone and I’m in a very good place – the Toyota has been running very well indeed.

“I’ve never done so many miles pre-season and we’ve learnt a lot about the new Dunlop tyre, we’ve got a good handle on things for qualifying and in race trim and I’m confident we’re developing a strong all around package.

“We’ve enjoyed across the board improvements in testing, mainly focusing on fewer circuits like Oulton and Brands so there are less variables, although we have this week had a run at Snetterton too which offered something new for us.”

Team Principal Simon Belcher is also satisfied with the team’s winter mileage and believes Austin looks as comfortable as ever in the car.

“Things are progressing nicely”, said Belcher, “I am trying to make sure we are the most prepared ever for this season, and I am delighted how the team has gelled together and embraced the move of our whole operation to Swindon over the winter.

“I can really see we are starting to get the best out of Rob as a driver, and I think we are in for a strong season. He has hardly put a foot wrong throughout our testing program and is looking very comfortable tin the car.”

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