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Tom Chilton: Independents title ‘is literally anybody’s’ to take

Tom Chilton says that the WTCC trophy for Independents ‘is literally anybody’s’ to take, as the Brit aims to cling on to a half-point lead over Sébastien Loeb Racing team-mate Mehdi Bennani in Qatar.

Chilton has seen his lead in the category reduced over the past two meetings, such that Bennani briefly led the WTCC trophy after the first race in Macau two weeks’ ago.

With Chilton then out-scoring the Moroccan in the Main Race on the streets of the Chinese special administrative region, it gave him just half a point lead heading into this week’s finale in the Middle East.

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“Obviously it’s extraordinarily close between myself and my team-mate Mehdi, with just half a point between us,” said Chilton. “As much as I’m in the lead going into the last one and you feel comfortable, half a point is nothing. It’s literally anybody’s.

“Both of us have to do the best we can this weekend and, like everyone has been saying, we want a clean fight. We don’t want somebody to win by hitting somebody off or somebody having a puncture.”

Chilton has emphasised the importance of a clean battle in the fight for the title, with Münnich Motorsport’s Rob Huff, who is only seven points adrift, also being in the mix for the independent glory.

“It’s not cricket, as we say in England, and we want it to be a fair fight. It’s a world championship with the best drivers in the world and it’s very competitive. It will be close, it will be exciting.”

Chilton also has an eye on the overall drivers’ standings, where he is fifth overall and actually behind Bennani due to qualifying points being awarded there but not in the Independents category.

“As much as Thed [Björk] is only six and a half points clear of Norbi [Michelisz, I’m only five and a half points behind Mehdi for the main championship with Nicky Catsburg somewhere in the middle so I’m also looking at winning the WTCC Trophy.

“Last year I finished second [in the independents], the year before I finished third, so I feel like first is the right way to go.

“But anything can happen here, I just need to keep my head and focused and work really with the team this weekend.”

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