Tom Chilton says race three penalty was a ‘fair cop’

Tom Chilton says race three penalty was a ‘fair cop’

Tom Chilton
Photo: PSP Images

Tom Chilton accepted his penalty in the final British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Brands Hatch, saying that his five-second time penalty for hitting Matt Neal was ‘fair cop’.

Chilton had looked set to take victory in the final race of the day, after passing Neal for the lead at Clearways just before the halfway stage.

However, Chilton did not make the move without contact and he was later penalised for the move, which in turn gave the race win to AmD Tuning’s Rory Butcher.

“The decision after race three was a fair cop,” said Chilton. “I pushed to pass Matt Neal, and they’ve pushed me back with a five-second penalty which meant I ended up finishing second overall.

“Obviously, I’m gutted that I lost the win, but in hindsight, I should have backed off to let him back through.

“I genuinely hadn’t realised that I had done it until I watched the on-board back. I’m holding my hands up.”

Despite losing the win, Chilton still leaves the first event of the season second overall in the drivers’ championship standings, having earlier finished third in mixed weather in the opening race, and ninth in race two.

Those results came despite the Motorbase driver qualifying in 13th on Saturday, which had Sunday been entirely held in the dry may have presented a different picture for Chilton.

“We’ve had lots of ups and downs this weekend! Saturday was a pretty awful day if I’m honest. Considering all of the work and testing we’ve done in the pre-season it didn’t go in our favour in qualifying.

“But actually 13th wasn’t the end of the world after all, and we’re coming away from this weekend with two podiums, three top ten finishes and currently second in the championship.

“It’s been a great start to our season. It’s all to play for heading to Donington Park. We’re in a great position and we’ll keep working hard and pushing forward.”

Team Manager Oly Collins praised Chilton for securing a double podium finish to start the season immediately in the mix for the title.

“For Tom, two podiums, one of which was the top step on track, was exactly the start to our championship attack that we were hoping for.

“We now head to Donington Park looking for the same consistency he showed last year.”