Tom Chilton has praised the professionalism of his rivals in the second World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) race in Thailand, which saw the ROAL Motorsport driver finish fourth and claim the independents class victory.
Having retired from race one with a puncture whilst running in fifth and the leading non-Citroën, Chilton then put in a solid race two drive to run in fifth for much of the race. That then became fourth, and ‘best of the rest’ when provisional raced winner Tiago Monteiro was excluded from the results for failing the post-race ride-height check.
“I’ve had lots of ups and downs,” said Chilton after the races. “In race one I was best of the non-Citroëns until I had a puncture through accident damage through no fault of my own.
“Then in race two I got for Chevrolet a very good start and that set me up for a really good race. I held P3 for quite a long time and had a lot of overtakes, a lot of switchbacks and a lot of very classy overtaking manoeuvres. There was nothing that was ‘schoolboy’, which happened to me in the first race. It was actually all very professional drivers around me and we were having a lot of fun.”
In particular Chilton was full of praise for the room afforded to him by his rivals at Citroën Racing, reiterating that such driving standards were why he chose to race in the World Championship.
“With Ma there was one point when I was on full opposite lock in fourth gear flat on the throttle and he was driving around the outside of me, which will look good on TV. [José María] López did a fantastic overtaking move around the outside, which I didn’t think was possible at Turn 8 so well done to him. And then [Sébastien] Loeb did a fantastic switchback on me at the hairpin so everyone had great overtaking manoeuvres and it’s just a sign of the level of this championship.
“We’re not in club racing, we’re in the FIA World Touring Car Championship and that’s why I race here because everyone is so professional and the racing is always excellent.”
Chilton also praised new champion López, who he added is indicative of the high calibre of drivers competing in the WTCC.
“Congratulations to López, he’s done a fantastic job and I’m very happy he’s two-times champion. It shows the competition in the championship that we have to beat. He’s always the fastest every time he goes out and it’s always good to race with him.”