Team Aon finished today’s racing in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on a high, despite suffering with excessive tyre wear throughout the day. Both Tom Chilton and Tom Onslow-Cole scored points in this afternoon’s round 15, finishing in fourth and second place respectively at Croft Circuit.
The day began differently as Race One (round 13) delivered a serious challenge for the team. Hot temperatures combined with the turbo-powered Ford Focus’ high levels of torque affected tyres significantly, leaving both drivers unable to push their cars to their full potential. This resulted in a lowly 18th place for Chilton, despite having secured pole position yesterday as the 25-year-old had to pit for new tyres, and eighth for Onslow-Cole.
Hard work and detailed analysis enabled the team to react quickly, which swiftly translated into improved results. Having started eighth and 18th, Onslow-Cole and Chilton raced through the field to a fifth and 11th place finish.
Race Three showed further progress. Having started 11th, Chilton combined inspired racing whilst staying safe through the incident-packed round to reach fourth. Onslow-Cole’s determined drive saw the 23-year-old jump to second within moments of the race starting, and keep his place despite contact at the first corner and constant pressure from his rivals.
Tom Onslow-Cole (#21): “We had an outside chance of moving up in the championship this weekend so the aim was to gain as many points as possible and catch up with [Jason] Plato and [Matt] Neal. I had a decent start to race one and got up to fourth place but the car developed a technical glitch, which lost me some power. Thankfully we got back up to speed but I was lower down in the field by then.
“I really struggled with tyres on the last five laps of race one so the team worked on solving that before race two. They managed it; I was able to go quicker and my tyres lasted longer, which is an amazing feat from the engineers! It’s very tight at the front of the field speed-wise and we made a few further tweaks before race three so we hoped a podium could be on the cards and it was!
“This weekend was a great opportunity to move up in the championship, especially as Plato and Neal didn’t score in today’s last race. I’m now leading the Independents’ standings, which is a good boost ahead of the next race weekend.”
Tom Chilton (#23) : “We’ve shown that we have no problems with speed over one lap several times this year; that’s why we’re so good in qualifying, but that hasn’t fully translated to this weekend’s races unfortunately. Race one was a challenge; I started off well and was in second place for the first six laps. I even posted a time that was very close to that race’s fastest lap but that’s actually not a good thing in these hot temperatures. I was pushing too hard on my tyres and shredded them very quickly. That translated into going backwards within the field and I ended up 18th. I even pitted as I thought I might have had a puncture but it was extreme tyre wear instead.
“The heat definitely did not help us today but everyone was suffering from the same thing to some extent. It’s unfortunate that it’s affecting us more but with a turbo-powered car, we have more torque and that’s hurting our tyres. This is the first time we have struggled with tyres though and we’re improving with each outing. Race three showed that with our best results of the day.”