Rob Austin believes that Gordon Shedden was ‘very unfortunate’ to suffer from the race-ending damage he incurred in the second British Touring Car Championship race at Rockingham.
Shedden had been behind Austin in 22nd position in race two when he appeared to mis-judge his braking point on the second lap of the race approaching the Deene hairpin.
The defending champion made contact with the rear of Austin’s Toyota, causing only superficial damage to the Handy Motorsport car but ending the Honda driver’s race with front-right damage.
“Before braking he was behind [Rory] Butcher,” explained Austin to TouringCars.Net. “He’s come past Butcher and then tried to go up the inside of me. I’d braked as late as I could, and because I was so far ahead after the initial braking, I took the normal line.
“You can see the line he took – he knew early on he’d gone too deep and that’s why he cut across the first kerb. Even if I had known he was there, there was still a car’s width on the inside.”
Austin didn’t lose any ground in the incident, and was sympathetic to Shedden’s plight as the Scot went on to retire from the race.
“I don’t think it was anything intentional from his point – it was just way too late and I wasn’t expecting it. He was just very unfortunate the way he caught the back of my car.”
Whilst running in 20th position, Austin went on to pick up a puncture later in the race, dropping him to the back of the field. The Toyota driver was left feeling particularly frustrated with his misfortune, as he demonstrated strong pace and believes he could have finished higher than Tom Ingram, who eventually finished ninth having started alongside Austin on the back row of the grid.
“It’s so frustrating, because I’d done him [Ingram] off the line and I was making better progress. I got a bit bottled up behind Jake Hill, and I guess Shedden then just out-braked himself.
“It’s frustrating because we were going through the pack at a higher rate of knots than Ingram and we just got a puncture.”