Positive Weekend for Rob Austin and PMR Sees Consistent Points Haul
This weekend saw the KwikFit British Touring Car Championship head to the UK’s Fastest Track, Thruxton.
It was to be a warm and dry weekend, providing ideal conditions for fan-favourite Rob Austin to take to the track for the first time in almost two years, since his last BTCC campaign finished in 2018.
With Austin being a replacement driver, he was forced to Qualify with full new driver ballast on board, instantly putting him at a disadvantage. With the first Free Practice session of Saturday being used as opportunity for Rob to get his head back in the game, finishing the session a respectable 20th was around what we expected.
Free Practice 2 gave him the opportunity to push Good Year’s new Eagle Hard compound to the max, with Rob using the session to explore the limits of the car, finishing the session P13.
Traffic in Qualifying saw Rob unable to quite string a perfect lap together, and despite him having just 2 sessions in the car, he managed to bring it home P16, meaning we were well placed in the mid-pack to make some ground up.
Race 1 saw Austin make a great start, making up 3 places during the first few laps to get up to P13. He would hold this position for the majority of the 16-lap session, taking Smiley at the very end of the final lap to snatch P12.
This meant that he would start Race 2 P12, but with the advantage of carrying zero success ballast. Despite fighting hard and putting in some quick times, he was unable to make up any places, whilst not losing any ground either, crossing the line once again in P12.
With Rob making it into the now infamous BTCC Reverse Grid Draw, we were hoping for Race 2’s winner to pull out ball number 12, meaning he would start from Pole for Race 3. Alas, it was not to be, and he would start yet again from P12.
Rob drove hard, pushing championship contender Cammish in his factory supported Honda until the very end, crossing the line just .7 of a second behind to finish P11.
Adam Weaver, Team Principal – “We’ve not had the best of luck this year, and despite the car being consistently one of the quickest on track, we had no results to show for it going into Thruxton. When we realised that Mike Bushell wasn’t going to be able to race, I was a bit nervous if we’re honest, but as soon as we agreed Rob getting into the car I knew we were onto a winner. I couldn’t be happier with our results from the weekend-Rob showed great pace throughout, and slotted into the team perfectly. Despite being 6 races down on the rest of the grid, as well as bad luck preventing any points at the previous 6, we’re not at the bottom of the points table, which shows that as much as we’re not going to be fighting for the title this season, we’re definitely not there just to make up the numbers.”
Rob Austin – “I enjoyed my weekend more than I was expecting, to be honest. PMR are a great team, and you don’t need me to tell you that they have built a great BTCC car in the Astra-it’s already well proven.
“No matter how good the car is, coming back at Thruxton with zero testing, new driver ballast on board and in a new car was always going to be a challenge after two years out of the seat, but I feel I got up to speed as well as I could thanks to the support of some great people in the team. Having said that, I think if I hear the word ‘solid’ again my head might explode!”
PMR continue their unique approach to the 2020 season this coming weekend, when Jade Edwards will become the first female in 13 years to contest the BTCC, on Silverstone’s National Circuit. Fans will be able to watch race day unfold this Sunday from 11am, on ITV2 & ITV2HD.