Rockingham BTCC: Rob Austin secures maiden victory
|By Ben Anderson||Sunday, September 15th 2013, 14:05 GMT|
Rob Austin claimed his maiden British Touring Car Championship victory with a composed drive away from the field in race two at Rockingham.
The ex-British Formula 3 race winner used the rear-wheel-drive advantage of his Audi A4 to leap past Andrew Jordan's polesitting Honda Civic and Mat Jackson's Motorbase Ford Focus at the start to lead.
Gordon Shedden took just two laps to work his way past Jordan and Jackson to be second, but he could not keep pace with the Audi as Austin worked his way clear to a 3.3-second win.
Jackson looked set to complete the podium for much of the race, but he lost out to the WSR BMW of Colin Turkington, who dived through on the inside line at Gracelands with two laps left.
Turkington's WSR team-mate Rob Collard was in contention for a podium finish too, but retired along with Matt Neal's Dynamics Honda Civic on lap 10 of 16.
Collard ran soft tyres for this race and put in a combative drive to climb as high as fourth in the early stages. He looked set to challenge Jackson for third until he locked up heavily under braking for the Deene hairpin, picked up a puncture and then retired to the pits.
Neal also looked good, having climbed into the top five from 14th on the grid after spinning under the safety car in race one, but he suddenly straightened up and stopped at Deene, lightly tagging Collard's BMW as it ran wide during its moment under braking.
Neal has now slipped to third in the points, behind team-mate Shedden.
Jackson ultimately just held off Sam Tordoff's Triple Eight MG6 to finish fourth. Tordoff started way back in 16th after suffering an intermittent engine misfire in race one, but climbed through the top order impressively in this race to finish four seconds clear of team-mate Jason Plato, who started fifth.
Dave Newsham's Speedworks Toyota Avensis looked racey in the early stages and ran as high as fourth after starting eighth on the grid, but he slipped back to seventh before the finish.
Points leader Andrew Jordan - running the maximum 45kg of success ballast in his Eurotech Honda - struggled for speed throughout the race and finished a subdued eighth after starting on pole.
Tom Onslow-Cole charged to ninth from near the back of the grid, after getting caught up in a midfield incident in race one and losing the brakes on his Motorbase Ford Focus, while Jeff Smith completed the top 10 in the second Eurotech Honda.
Adam Morgan, Nick Foster, Frank Wrathall (who went off twice in his Dynojet Toyota), Jack Goff and Aron Smith rounded out the points finishers, while Lea Wood took a comfortable win in the Jack Sears Trophy for S2000 cars.
Results - 16 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Rob Austin Austin Audi 22m52.3022 2. Gordon Shedden Honda +3.351s 3. Colin Turkington WSR BMW +8.983s 4. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford +10.569s 5. Sam Tordoff MG +10.696s 6. Jason Plato MG +14.784s 7. Dave Newsham Speedworks Toyota +17.290s 8. Andrew Jordan Eurotech Honda +20.076s 9. Tom Onslow-Cole Motorbase Ford +21.273s 10. Jeff Smith Eurotech Honda +26.154s 11. Adam Morgan Ciceley Toyota +27.349s 12. Nick Foster WSR BMW +38.318s 13. Frank Wrathall Dynojet Toyota +38.979s 14. Jack Goff Hard Vauxhall +44.232s 15. Aron Smith Motorbase Ford +45.976s 16. Ollie Jackson Speedworks Toyota +46.055s 17. Howard Fuller Hard Volkswagen +47.588s 18. Warren Scott BMR Volkswagen +50.515s 19. Lea Wood Wood Vauxhall +51.194s* 20. Andy Wilmot Hard Volkswagen +1m10.074s 21. David Nye Welch Ford +1m21.706s* Retirements: Liam Griffin Motorbase Ford 3 laps* Rob Collard WSR BMW 6 laps Matt Neal Honda 7 laps