Robs Rocked it at Rockingham!
Although the worst of the rain held off during the day, there were showers and strong winds that the drivers had to contend with, but race one saw Jordan got a blistering start, passing Austin and the MG of Tordoff who was front row along with Plato, who, although a harder cookie to crack, ordan had passed him before the end of the first lap.
However, just as Jordan snatched the lead, further back down the pack the Audi of Will Bratt was seemingly touched by one of the ebay BMW’s as they exited Gracelands, this incident also collected the Toyota of Adam Morgan which then set of another event between Daniel Welch in the Proton and Tom Onslow-Cole in the Airwaves Ford while they were trying to avoid the previous incident.
This saw the safety car deployed but Jordan kept his cool when the race restarted, Plato seemed to be struggling for speed along with his team-mate Tordoff who was suffering with an intermittent misfire, reigning champion Gordon Shedden took the opportunity to nip past Plato at Brook Chicane taking the Honda to second place behind Jordan.
Although losing a few places at the start of the race, Austin was now clawing his way back through the pack. Passing Tordoff, then the ebay BMW of Rob Collard and then zipping past Dave Newsham. Austin was a man on a mission and was closing in on the remaining trio ahead of him.
Austin was hounding Plato with just two laps to go passed him, 3rd place Shedden was now in his sights! Austin drove a blinding race and on the final corner, coming out of Brook and entering the Oval banking Rob made his move and blasted past the Honda to snatch the last place on the podium from under Sheddens nose.
Race 2 saw Rob in third place on the grid, but he stormed past Jackson and pole-sitter Jordan straight off the line and into the lead.
A faultless drive saw Rob just kept extending his lead and cruise home to his maiden first win to massive cheers from all his supporters, family and team.
Shedden had to settle for 2nd , and Colin Turkington, who after a fantastic move on Jackson, at Gracelands late in the race took 3rd place on the podium.
Mat Neal had made his way through the pack up to 6th place by mid distance, when he and Collard both went off the track in lap ten at the first chicane, Neal’s Honda was forced into retirement while Collard limped back to the pits with a puncture.
Jackson held onto 4th place in front of the MG’s of Plato and Tordoff both of which had been making reasonable progress up the order throughout the race.
Without a doubt though, the man of the race was Rob Austin who’s jubilation was more than just a tadge evident in parc ferme, as proceeded to jump up and down on the roof of his car unable to contain his excitement. The cheers at the podium were obviously for him. “What a feeling!” “It has been three years of blood, sweat and tears, for the team for my family for everyone” said Rob.
“We’re up against teams with four times our budget and to beat guys like that is just incredible. I backed off a bit towards the end but Sherman was brilliantly prepared and the guys did a great job – I’m so proud of the whole team. The BTCC crowd are amazing too and I love them all! T
hey’ve got me out of trouble already this season when we had our big shunt on the first weekend. We wouldn’t be here without them so I can’t thank the fans enough.”
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