Rob Austin admitted it ‘felt like a long time’ since his last win, after the Handy Motorsport driver took victory in the final British Touring Car Championship race of the season at Brands Hatch.
Having started the race from the front row, Austin assumed control at the front on lap one with a pass on Mike Epps heading onto the Grand Prix circuit.
Thereafter Austin was unchallenged for victory, opening up a comfortable four-second lead at one stage, to claim a third career victory in the BTCC.
“I’m really happy with that,” said Austin to TouringCars.Net. “I knew we had to get past Mike Epps quite early, before we got on to the back straight, because that thing is so quick in a straight line.”
Austin put part of his success down to racing on the circuit in Legends in 2016, where he was able to learn the racing lines with grip in the wet weather.
“I did a Legends race here last year, and it was soaking wet and those things have got very little grip, so I figured out that Turn 3 on the inside had masses more grip and I could turn it tight, get on the inside, and get the traction. I gave that a go, it worked, and got up the inside and I knew he would act as blocker for a while.
“I’ve always liked the wet, but I’ve not felt particularly confident in the wet in a front-wheel drive car. In all honesty, I ‘ve done quite little in the wet in front-wheel drive cars, and I find them terrifying!”
Victory was especially sweet for Austin as he openly admitted that he didn’t feel he had driven at his best on race day, following an unforced error in race two which left him ninth at the chequered flag.
“I actually haven’t driven very well today until that third race,” added Austin. “In race two I was holding fifth until I made a mistake; on the plus side I don’t remember the last time I dropped a car on my own in the 25 years I’ve been racing, so it’s quite a rarity and it only cost me three places.
“I guess I got the mistakes out of the way early, and I didn’t make them when it counted in race three. When you get out in front and you’ve got the car under you, it’s the easiest job you’ll have.
“It feels like a very long time since the last win – there’s going to be a lot of celebrating to do. It means so much to the team as well – they took a chance on me and it’s good to repair them with some silverware.
“I’ve now got six months of saying you’re only as good as your last race, so I’m really happy about that!”