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Rob Austin clinches pole for Grand Prix Masters

Sunday, May 29 2011

Rob Austin has claimed pole position for the first GP Masters race of the weekend after setting a scorching pace in qualifying at the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch.

Austin, who is also racing in the British Touring Car Championship this year, set a time of 1:22.678s in his 1982 Arrows A4, a second faster than second placed man Bill Coombs driving a 1979 vintage Tyrrell 009.

Under blue skies, the conditions were perfect as Brands Hatch reverberated to the sound of classic F1 machinery, ranging from 1970-1983.

Austin lead the way for the majority of the session and at one point was over three seconds clear of the field. Coombs, who won twice at this meeting last year, chipped away at his times though to eventually move to just over a second off pole, a commendable achievement in a car three years older than Austin's.

"We got the car last year, did a bit of sorting out and it's running well" said Austin.

"It will be a tough race. Bill goes well round here and he won't want to give me an easy ride" Austin added.

Roger Wills qualified in third place in his Williams FW05, the New Zealander setting a time of 1:26.205s. Wills also qualified a glorious black and gold Lotus 92 from 1983 in 12th place, a car which has had considerably less running than the Williams car from 1976. Should Wills choose to race the Williams, he will head the Niki Lauda class for winged cars from 1975-1978.

Chris Perkins driving a Surtees TS14 set the fastest time in the Fittipaldi class for 1972-74 cars and qualified 12th overall, while Abba Kogan was the sole runner in the Stewart class for 1969-1971 cars.

Grand Prix Masters Qualifying one result:

1. Rob Austin, Arrows A4, 1:22.658s
2. Bill Coombs, Tyrrell 009, +1.020s
3. Roger Wills, Williams FW05, +3.547s
4. Michael Lyons, Hesketh 308E, +3.795s
5. Steve Allen, Arrows A1, +3.812s
6. Richard Barber, Fittipaldi F5A, +4.068s
7. Mark Higson, March 761, +5.915s
8. Philip Hall, Arrows A3-3, +6.398s
9. Frank Lyons, McLaren M26, +7.069s
10. Ian Simmonds, Tyrrell 012, +7.499s

The first Grand Prix Masters race of the weekend takes place at 15.45 today (Sunday).

Tickets for the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch are available on the gate for £21 on Sunday and Monday with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click on the link below.