'Traffic' thwarts Austin and Abbott in Brands Hatch BTCC qualifying

In qualifying for tomorrow's Brands Hatch race, Rob Austin and Hunter Abbott found themselves repeatedly held up by slower cars.

'Traffic' thwarts Austin and Abbott in Brands Hatch BTCC qualifying
Rob Austin, Exocet AlcoSense
Hunter Abbott, Exocet AlcoSense
Rob Austin, Exocet AlcoSense
Exocet AlcoSense Rob Austin and Hunter Abbott
Hunter Abbott, Exocet AlcoSense

Rob Austin Racing duo Rob Austin (Evesham) and Hunter Abbott (Maidenhead) both say traffic cost them their chance of qualifying inside the top ten on the grid for the opening race of the new Dunlop British Touring Car season at Brands Hatch tomorrow (Easter Sunday).

Both Exocet AlcoSense Audis – the most striking looking cars on the grid – had shown well in the two earlier practice sessions but Rob and Hunter then found themselves repeatedly held up by slower cars in qualifying and they had to settle for the 13th and 16th fastest times respectively.

We’ve seen in practice and even qualifying how strong the Audi is when it comes to using its tyres over a long run.

Hunter Abbott

Rob (13th) commented: “I’d gone into the session thinking P10 would have been a bad day. OK, we were never going to challenge for pole but I am still really frustrated – both of us could and should have been in the top 10. The traffic early on in particular was really bad and one driver in particular… really special.

“I’d definitely say with a clear lap I’d have been two to three tenths of a second faster which would have put me around P7 or P8. The big positive is the pace of the car over a long run on the same set of tyres – it just keeps getting better and better which bodes very well for our race pace.

“Each driver will also have to be conscious of the fact that it will be your fastest lap time in race one – not the finishing result – that will decide the grid order for race two. Last year here I was one of the top three on race pace so hopefully we can have more of that tomorrow.”

Hunter, just 0.069s adrift of Rob in 16th, added: “The top 10 was definitely on and it was just the traffic that held me back. My best lap was set with traffic and also I had a big sideways moment going left through the Surtees-McLaren section which cost me as well.

“But Rob is right. We’ve seen in practice and even qualifying how strong the Audi is when it comes to using its tyres over a long run. We need to exploit that tomorrow but we both really need the cards to fall for us in the opening laps to enable us to do that.”

All three of tomorrow’s British Touring Car races will be shown live on ITV4 which is on air from Brands Hatch 10.30am-6.30pm

Rob Austin Racing

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