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Tom Chilton sees ‘serious potential’ in car despite frustrating weekend

Tom Chilton says he can see ‘serious potential’ in his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra, despite enduring a frustrating weekend in the British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park that yielded just eight points.

Having qualified in 12th position on Saturday, Chilton was fighting with Motorbase’s Mat Jackson and BTC Norlin Racing’s Chris Smiley in race one when he made contact with the Chevrolet driver at McLeans on lap four and ended both drivers’ races.

“I was frustrated that I ran out of room with Mat Jackson when I was overtaking him and Smiley through the kink after the Old Hairpin,” explained Chilton to TouringCars.Net about the race one incident. “I’m gutted that I just slipped off the kerb onto the grass and got a tank-slapper. I just couldn’t hold the drift and I ended up coming back across and hitting Smiley.”

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That left Chilton with a huge task in race two from 27th on the grid, but a determined drive saw him make up 17 places to finish the race in tenth position.

Wet weather threw a spanner in the works for race three, however, with the team having a lack of data for the conditions. In the end Chilton chose a different set-up to team-mate Senna Proctor, and he went backwards, finishing in 14th to add just two further points to his tally.

“I love the wet, but I tried going in one direction and Senna tried going in another direction,” added Chilton. “His worked and mine didn’t, but at least we now know for the next wet race what to do with the cars.

“It’s just what happens when you run a new tyre, a new car, with two new drivers and two new engineers. You have to go in two different directions.”

Despite the results seeing Chilton slip to tenth overall in the championship standings, he remains optimistic about the rest of the season ahead with the still-developing Astra.

“The car has serious potential. I went from 27th to tenth in the second race, overtaking 17 cars – I think that’s probably the most overtakes in one race this year, at a guess. It was awesome – I really enjoyed myself.

“The team have done a great job with the new car, and it’s gone quite well. I’m not sixth in the championship anymore after a DNF, tenth and 14th but for sure we’re still in the running for it and it’s still quite close.”

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