Tom Chilton feared late drama en route to race three podium

Tom Chilton feared late drama en route to race three podium

Photo: PSP Images

Tom Chilton feared a late problem with his Ford Focus RS could have robbed him of his third podium of the 2018 British Touring Car Championship season in the reverse-grid race at Croft.

The Motorbase Performance racer managed to jump Senna Proctor’s Vauxhall Astra in fine fashion off the start, but couldn’t prevent Dan Lloyd from taking a career-first BTCC win.

Chilton elected to sit back in the opening exchanges and allow the Honda Civic Type R to build an advantage on the logic that he would have less grip to defend with in the final stages.

The success ballast on board Chilton’s Ford, however, negated that strategy.

“It was an epic start – I went off like a hero and Daniel Lloyd was [driving like he was] in a qualifying session,” explained Chilton to TouringCars.net.

“I was trying to keep up with him and I actually backed off after a few laps and thought he was going to use his tyres and that I’d be able to come back at him at the end of the race.

“What happened was, I forgot I was carrying 33 kg of success ballast and my tyres were going off quickly!”

The 2010 Independents Champion revealed a late problem with the front-left forced him into caution, and was grateful to Proctor for not risking a last-ditch move after the two closed up on the final tours of the 2.1 mile Yorkshire circuit.

“I was hanging on just in case he made a mistake and I’d be right there.

“But five laps from the end I ended up slowly getting a problem with the car or the tyres – it was either a damper failure or just a massive problem with the front-left tyre.

“But I’m just so happy that I somehow brought that back. I can’t tell you how horrendous it was at the end of the race – I was lucky to finish. I’m so happy to now be fifth overall in the championship – it doesn’t get much better than that.

“Senna was actually behaving very responsibly – I think that might have been for two reasons – one we got on well last year as team-mates and two, he’s used up all of his strikes and more – if he has one more then he gets kicked out, basically. I think he knew that as well, so I think he was happy with third.

“If it’s for first it’s always a bit of a different ball game! But I think Senna was being respectful for those two reasons and I thank him for that.”

Chilton heads into the championship’s six-week summer break placed fifth overall – 44 points adrift of standings leader Colin Turkington – with the action set to resume at Snetterton over the weekend of 28-29 July.