Rob Austin apologises for Brands Hatch BTCC draw incident

Rob Austin has apologised for the incident that occurred during the draw for the reverse-grid British Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch on Sunday

Rob Austin apologises for Brands Hatch BTCC draw incident

The grid for the final BTCC race at each meeting is decided by someone picking a numbered ball out of a pot, which determines how much of the top 10 is reversed.

Austin, who finished 10th in race two, performed the draw and selected his own position, but series director Alan Gow undertook a redraw following complaints.

He picked out the number 10 ball again, meaning Austin started from pole after all, before finishing fifth in the race won by Matt Neal.

Austin, who admitted his actions and apologised live on ITV prior to the start of the third race, has subsequently issued a statement on his Facebook page.

"I am writing this because I want to apologise to the fans of the BTCC, to the championship itself, my team and my sponsors," it said. "I can't tell you how crap I have been feeling about it.

"Whilst I don't condone what I did and there is no excuse or justification for my actions I would like to ask you to consider the position I was in before making judgement.

"Many of you are aware of the dedication my whole team put in to the BTCC, it has become our whole lives for a number of years now and the pressure, determination and sheer desire to achieve results is extremely high.

"So when I glanced down and by chance saw #10... well... it was an opportunity to get Exocet, Alcosense, DUO and all of our sponsors on to the front row and lots of TV coverage, an opportunity to potentially reward my team's hard work and my fans with some silverware."

The two-time BTCC race winner said other drivers had done the same in the past but claimed he would have felt guilty had he gone on to take the victory.

"Even though it was drawn again completely fairly I didn't feel I should be there and although I was still giving it everything to win that race there's a part of me that is actually glad that I didn't win it because it wouldn't have been right if I did after that," Austin continued. "That's not how we want to win races.

"I am truly and sincerely regretful and sorry for letting everyone down with my moment of stupidity and I hope everyone will accept my most sincere apologies and not let my actions be a negative reflection on the championship, my sponsors or my team."

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