Motorbase Performance’s Tom Chilton is aiming to maintain his third place in the overall standings at the final round of the British Touring Car Championship, after he enjoyed a successful weekend at Silverstone.
Chilton qualified third in his Ford Focus RS, scoring a podium in race one, dropping to 13th in race two on the harder tyre before progressing to 6th in race three.
The points haul from Silverstone means he jumped to third in the driver’s championship, 30 points adrift of second place man Tom Ingram and just nine points clear of Subaru’s Ashley Sutton, who had a torrid weekend.
The Reigate racer told TouringCars.Net that holding on to third in the standings is his realistic aim for the final three races at Brands Hatch, at which he will aim for more silverware.
“I think at the moment it’s about keeping hold of third place if I’m honest,” said Chilton.
“After finishing third in the world championship last year, it would be nice to finish third in the British championship this year – then you can say you are the third best in the world which is quite cool!
“I’m car number three and if I can finish third in the championship then I get to keep my race number!”
Although he did rue an opportunity to score more points in race three, Chilton felt pleased with his weekend at the Northamptonshire circuit, and is also hoping to overhaul Ingram in the Independent Drivers championship at Brands Hatch.
“Really happy with the weekend, we’ve got lots of points and we’ve moved up from sixth to third in the championship,” he said.
“We’re still second in the Independents but I think I got a little bit closer to Tom [Ingram] this weekend. But it is very close in the championship – anything can happen at Brands Hatch.”
Chilton praised the speed of his Motorbase Ford Focus RS on the 1.6-mile national circuit, and also complimented stablemate Sam Tordoff, who scored victory in race one and then a podium in race two despite running maximum ballast.
“This weekend the Ford Focus has been very strong and Motorbase have done a great job, and all the partners involved,” Chilton said.
“And I’m very happy for my teammate Sam [Tordoff], he’s driven very well this weekend.
“I’m very good around Silverstone and he beat me. I don’t know if it was the 33 kilos or he was just better, but he drove very very well and I’m very happy for him. I’m gutted I couldn’t get another podium in the last race, I just got held up too much.”
Despite progressing from 13th to sixth position in race three, Chilton lamented not climbing further as he felt the opportunity for a podium was on the cards before an intense battle with Josh Cook’s Vauxhall and Rob Austin’s Alfa Romeo ensued.
“I got fastest lap again – I got it in race one and race three – but I just had nowhere to go. And then Rob Austin just started hitting me sideways up the straights and damaging the car,” he said.
“Then Josh Cook hit me when I tried to go around the outside of Turkington to do him and I was choking on the smoke in the car. The car was good though, especially in the corners – hence why I was trying to go around the outside of Turkington – it was a good car.
“But I wish I could have got more points than I did because I think it’s quite hard to get first and second now [in the championship], but I’m still going to give it everything I can.
Chilton’s approach for Brands Hatch in two weeks is to aim for podiums, and try to put pressure on Tom Ingram for the Independent title as well as retaining third in the overall standings.
“For me I just need to qualify as well as I can and I would love to get a podium in the first race and try and hang on to it as best as I can for the second race,” he said.
“I’ve actually got the soft tyre in race two so that means if I have a good race one, and I get a podium, then I have the soft in race two it’s even faster. That means I could get another podium even with the weight in because the soft tyre is good.
“So hopefully I can get a double podium and then just hang on in the last race, that’d be the dream for me at Brands would be a double podium to end the year, that’d be awesome.
“I started 17th in the championship after Brands at the beginning, I’ve worked myself all the way up to third and hopefully I can maybe get second in the last event.”