Silverstone next for Austin as BTCC season nears its climax - The Evesham Observer

Silverstone next for Austin as BTCC season nears its climax

Evesham Editorial 10th Sep, 2018   0

DUO MOTORSPORT with HMS Racing’s potential-filled maiden season with its striking Alfa Romeo Giulietta edges closer to a conclusion this weekend when the penultimate event of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship takes place at Silverstone.

Going into rounds 25, 26 and 27 of the 2018 campaign, the Swindon team and fans’ favourite driver Rob Austin are confident the Northamptonshire venue’s National Circuit will provide an opportunity to continue the strong consistency displayed a couple of weeks ago at Knockhill in Scotland.

While Evesham racer Austin did want more from the annual visit north of the border in terms of the actual results, chalking up scores in all three races – a best finish of ninth coming in the second outing of the weekend – provided a considerable boon for the squad.

In a year when shocking misfortune has had a major role to play, limiting the team to one podium finish and a total of 14 points results, the consistent run at Knockhill was a very welcome turnaround and one which the squad hopes can be replicated, at the very least, this weekend.

As one of the shortest tracks on the calendar, just 0.4 miles longer than Knockhill, the National Circuit configuration at Silverstone always provides outstanding action and, with more than 30 cars set to line up on the grid, the battle for hundredths of a second in qualifying, let alone tenths, will be fierce.

Austin is, of course, hungry to return to the podium and a top three result is most definitely long overdue. Equally, the pace and potential of the HMS Racing-constructed Alfa Romeo is clear so all at the team will be pushing to make the return to Northamptonshire one of the true highlights of 2018.

“I hope overall we can have another clean weekend,” said Austin. “While the results at Knockhill weren’t quite what we wanted, they were still solid and we put together three competitive races without any real dramas for a change.

“I really do hope we can challenge at Silverstone and extract the performance we know is there in the DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing Alfa Romeo.

“Silverstone National is a short track and we’ve obviously got more than 30 cars in the championship this year, but I don’t think space in qualifying will be an issue – even at Knockhill it wasn’t that bad and Silverstone is obviously much wider.

“I don’t envisage any issues there so hopefully that will mean we can have a good run in qualifying, start well up the order and put together three strong races.”

Even with the well-documented misfortune which has adversely impacted upon the squad’s first year with the Giulietta, Austin remains in touch with the top six in the Independents Trophy driver standings and could make significant inroads with anything like a straightforward visit to Silverstone.

Round 25 will start at 12.10pm on Sunday, with round 26 scheduled to commence at 2.40pm and round 27 following at 5.25pm. All three races will be streamed live online and screened on ITV4.

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