Rob Austin endured a ‘disappointing and unusual’ weekend at Thruxton, as the HMS Racing driver missed out on the top ten in all three British Touring Car Championship races at Thruxton.
Austin qualified just 17th on Saturday, over a second off the pace set by Honda’s front-running man Matt Neal.
In race one the Alfa Romeo driver found himself scrapping for the last of the points finishes, ultimately missing out after being passed by Ash Sutton to finish 16th.
Whilst Austin scraped into the points in race two with a 13th place finish, race three once again saw him finish in 16th and just outside the points in what was a frustrating weekend for the team.
“I would say it was a disappointing and unusual weekend overall”, said Austin. “We absolutely had a top ten car for qualifying, but we were unlucky with the traffic.
“It’s not something we have an issue with often, and we normally manage it very well, but you only get one lap on your tyres at Thruxton and we were unfortunate to catch slower cars on a number of occasions.”
He believes that part of his struggle for pace is also down to the strength of the Honda drivers – both factory-backed and independent – around the high-speed Hampshire circuit.
That also left some other big names, including reigning champion Ash Sutton, struggling to crack into the points as well.
“I think this was the turning point between a solid weekend and a disappointing one. The Team Dynamics cars are something else around Thruxton, whatever Barry Plowman [Team Dynamics Technical Director] puts in their dampers puts them out of everybody’s reach and, as there are seven Hondas running his settings, it moves the grid down.”
“To get into the top ten I was battling with [Adam] Morgan, [Aiden] Moffat, [Rob] Collard, Sutton, all proven drivers and extremely hard to beat.
“We had some great racing, just not for the positions any of us wanted or expected. I believe if we had got a clear qualifying lap and put the car sixth, which the data said was possible, we could’ve run in and maintained the top ten.”
“Thruxton is a very unique circuit and what we learnt at our test day the other week was difficult to apply to such a fast and bumpy circuit, where we run on a different tyre compound.
“Even though the results weren’t there this weekend I have a really good feeling in the car. So, heading to Oulton Park, I’m confident we can begin to show the potential in the Alfa Romeo.”