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Rob Austin targeting race wins in second half of year

Rob Austin is targeting ‘a race win or two’ in the second half of the British Touring Car Championship season, beginning with Snetterton this weekend which the Handy Motorsport driver expects to suit him better than recent circuits.

Austin has enjoyed his strongest-ever start to a BTCC campaign in 2017, picking up ten top-ten finishes so far and a pole position and podium in the second meeting of the year at Donington Park.

The 36-year-old is currently eighth overall in the championship standings, 80 points behind series leader Gordon Shedden.

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Having missed out on the team’s first BTCC win at Donington, Austin is hoping to be able to reach the top step in the second half of the year when he races on tracks which he perceives to be more favourable to him and the Toyota Avensis.

“We’re hoping the second half of the season will bring more steps forward,” said Austin, who was on the podium with the team at Snetterton last year. “Some stuff we tried with the car at the Snetterton tyre test didn’t go exactly as we expected, but we learnt a lot and definitely made gains.

“Snetterton will suit us better than some of the other tracks we’ve visited recently. We had our first podium there last year and that was, basically, from the back of the grid in the first race, working our way through in race two and then racing to the podium in the last one.”

Despite being half-way through his second season in front-wheel drive machinery, Austin claims he is still having to get used to the different driving style associated with the car.

“We’re still learning, we’ve taken big strides and I’m still getting to grips with the front-wheel drive, but we’re fine tuning and getting better.

“The target is still to win a race or two this season, and I think we have the pace to do it. The team deserves one and I think it would be well earned.

“Championship position-wise we’re looking good in the overall standings and the Independents, but I’m still kicking myself about Brands at the start of the year [when Austin was excluded from fourth for passing under yellow flags]. I made a silly mistake there which really did cost us points.

“The plan is not to make any more mistakes for the rest of the season!”

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