Those of you familiar with the British Touring Car Championships will be well aware of the new NGTC cars to the grid with rookie driver’s at the wheel. However, there is one in particular that really caught my eye. I am referring to the Rob Austin Racing Audi.
Initially, the car was to be piloted by BTCC regular Dave Pinkney but he decided to walk away early on in the process of getting the car out on to the track after initial teething problems. But for me, I’m glad of this. Why? Because it meant Rob Austin took to the wheel. No disrespect to Dave Pinkney but Rob is the king of cool and without doubt one of my favourite drivers.
With his long sideburns, Aviator sunglasses, cigarette in hand and his proven ability in historic masters Formula One racing, I can’t help but think that Rob was born 30 years too late. He would not look out of place rubbing shoulders and tyres with the likes of James Hunt and Nikki Lauda in Formula One during the Seventies. He will even be starring in the new F1 film depicting this era which in my eyes, makes him the king of cool!
Rob is a great addition to the BTCC grid in the ever improving Audi and despite a number of problems this season, he really shone at Rockingham. A fourth place on the grid at Knockhill gave us all a glimpse of what he and the Audi could do but he went one better at the Rock with a third place. A credible seventh place was great for the 30 year old but better was to come. Having been knocked down the order on lap one of race two, Rob fought back through the field to finish ninth which was subsequently good enough for second place on the grid for the final race of the day. Having took the lead on lap one he was eventually overhauled by James Nash but still took a superb second place on the podium to the delight of many of the on looking fans. But getting out of the car in Parc ferme, Rob remained as cool as ever and even had someone on and to pass him his trusty aviators just after he was handed the obligatory Dunlop yellow cap.
It was great to see the BTCC rookie take to the podium and I hope it won’t be long before he takes to the top step. He’s a nice guy and a great addition to the driver line up. With a lot of the petty stuff going on currently between certain drivers it’s great to see Rob come in, work hard, race fair, and now pick up points in the championships.