Tom Chilton pleased to take independents lead despite lack of racing

Tom Chilton pleased to take independents lead despite lack of racing

Tom Chilton
Photo: David Noels / DPPI

Tom Chilton was pleased to leave China in the lead of the WTCC Trophy for Independents, despite only completing six racing laps in rain-affected races at the Ningbo International Speedpark.

Chilton went into the weekend tied on points with Sébastien Loeb Racing team-mate Mehdi Bennani and Münnich Motorsport’s Rob Huff at the top of the Independents’ standings.

But the Brit was taken out in the Opening Race by rival Rob Huff, leaving Chilton with only the Main Race to pick up a score.

In the end, the second race was abandoned after only two laps, but it was enough for a result to be declared and Chilton to bag some points, even though there were no racing laps.

With the incident in the first race also compromising Huff in the second race, Chilton felt that the clash was punishing enough for his fellow Brit, even though he didn’t accept blame for the crash.

“[Rob] struggled to see through his windows and I felt the same because I couldn’t see through my side windows either,” explained Chilton.

“Either way I was on the wet racing line at the time and I feel Rob maybe aquaplaned under brakes. He just about pulled it off but went for a switchback and I think we both fought for the same piece of Tarmac between Turns 5 and 6.

“But he hit me so hard I beg to differ and I think he made a slight mistake. I believe in karma and Rob didn’t make it out onto the grid for the Main Race.”

Although there was no racing in the Main Race, Chilton professed to be pleased with the result, where he was classified in fifth overall and first in the WTCC Trophy classification, giving him the advantage heading to Japan in just under two weeks’ time.

“It was fantastic because all three of us were joint first [in the WTCC Trophy]. Mehdi [Bennani] didn’t finish, Rob was in the pits and thought this was all falling into my lap quite nicely.

“It’s not the way I wanted it to happen, the same as all the other drivers here but now I lead the WTCC Trophy by four points.

“I’m pleased about that because I didn’t to come all the way to China and come back with no points. But I have to say quickly that Sébastien Loeb Racing made this possible because after the Opening Race accident they managed to put a whole front-left upright, driveshaft, disc brake, you name it everything on all in 15 minutes.

“The steering wheel was perfectly straight and that’s one of the reasons why I’m here right now because of them so thank you.”