Rob Austin enjoyed Jason Plato battle despite losing out on podium

Despite narrowly missing out on a podium in race three at Croft, Rob Austin admitted he enjoyed the challenge of battling with double BTCC champion Jason Plato at the weekend.

The Handy Motorsport driver produced a superlative drive in the reverse grid encounter, fending off the race-long advances of the Team BMR driver before being pipped at the line by 0.041 – relegating him to fourth.

Even though the Toyota Avensis driver missed out on silverware after bagging 11th and eighth in the earlier races, Austin was pleased with his performance at a circuit which was well-suited to rear-wheel-drive cars.

“I would dearly have loved to get on that podium and reward the boys and everyone but, in the end, he [Plato] out-boosted me!,” said Austin as he reflected on the weekend.

“To be fair, Jason drove really well and the nice thing about racing with him is you know he’s not going to try and fire you off the circuit and you can have a really strategic, hard-but-fair battle with him. So although I lost out, I really enjoyed the challenge.

“In the wet in free practice we had a really good car, and left a bit on the table as well, so we looked forward to qualifying but it didn’t go our way. After everything that happened in qualifying though, we were just happy to have a car in one piece but a shame not to have a representative grid slot.

“The first race on the hard tyres was really tricky but 11th on hard tyres, from 17th, I was really happy with that. We picked up a couple of positions in race two on medium tyres, and then finally had some luck with the reverse grid for race three – we often seem to miss that luck.”

Austin now heads into the mid-season break sitting eighth in the championship standings.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jakob Ebrey Photography