Tom Chilton claims first win of season in wet reverse-grid race

Tom Chilton claims first win of season in wet reverse-grid race

Tom Chilton
Photo: PSP Images

Motorbase’s Tom Chilton took his first win of the year in a wet final British Touring Car Championship race at Croft, finishing ahead of BTC Racing’s Josh Cook and Power Maxed Racing’s Jason Plato in wet but drying conditions.

Chilton started the reverse grid race from pole position and, like most of the top ten drivers on the grid, elected to start the race on wet tyres after a heavy downpour just before the race got underway.

Despite the wet track, a number of drivers chose to start the race on slick tyres as the sun came out, with Speedworks’ Tom Ingram the leading driver to take a risk, having been drawn to start the race in third on the grid.

At the start, those on wets had a clear advantage as Chilton led the field whilst Cook slotted into second and Plato moved up to third, as Ingram dropped down the order to finish the opening lap in 22nd.

An early safety car period was then required when Team HARD’s Jack Goff was hit by BTC Racing’s Chris Smiley, breaking his left-rear suspension and leaving his car stranded at the complex.

Racing resumed on lap six, with Chilton pulling out a moderate lead over Cook as Aiden Moffat, then running in seventh, served a drive-through penalty for a false start.

As the race wore on the lap times of those on the wet rubber began to fall away, but by the by the halfway stage of the race the best of those on slicks was Ingram, down in 21st.

The Toyota racer began to make progress from lap 11 onwards, passing a driver on almost every lap, but the gamble ultimately failed to pay off.

Chilton managed his tyres to win his first race since Knockhill last year, with Cook’s second returning him to second overall in the drivers’ standings.

By finishing in third, Plato also scored his first podium finish since Croft last year.

The leading trio were comfortably ahead of fourth-placed Ash Sutton, with the Subaru driver having passed Honda’s Matt Neal, who was fifth, for the position on lap 14 at the hairpin – a place where Sutton also picked off Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington earlier in the race.

Turkington took sixth and thus maintained his points lead, with the Northern Irishman leaving Croft with an 11-point margin over Cook.

AmD Tuning’s Rory Butcher repaid his mechanics hard work in repairing his car overnight by taking eighth in his Honda, having started 14th, ahead of Jordan in eighth, who lost places to the two ahead of him at the Jim Clark Esses on the final lap.

Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan and Honda’s Dan Cammish completed the top ten, the latter having slid out of eighth on lap ten.

Slick-shod Ingram just missed out on the points, ending the race in 16th but gaining a consolation point for posting the fastest lap of the race.

The next-best driver on slicks was Motorbase’s Nic Hamilton in 20th, whilst Tom Oliphant (23rd) and Chris Smiley (24th) also went for the dry tyre.

Race result

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 3 I Tom CHILTON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher Ford Focus RS 17 26:56.832 1:29.720 1
2 66 I Josh COOK BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R 17 0.764 1:29.759 2
3 11 M Jason PLATO Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 17 1.117 1:29.571 4
4 116 M Ashley SUTTON Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg 17 5.337 1:30.177 10
5 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 17 7.012 1:29.998 5
6 1 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 17 9.615 1:30.163 7
7 6 I Rory BUTCHER Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Honda Civic Type R 17 10.541 1:30.325 14
8 77 M Andrew JORDAN BMW Pirtek Racing BMW 330i M Sport 17 11.168 1:30.018 8
9 33 I Adam MORGAN Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 17 12.475 1:30.697 11
10 27 M Dan CAMMISH Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 17 12.856 1:30.591 6
11 48 I Ollie JACKSON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher Ford Focus RS 17 13.209 1:30.554 20
12 18 M Senna PROCTOR Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg 17 14.840 1:30.677 13
13 600 I Sam TORDOFF Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Honda Civic Type R 17 15.354 1:30.595 15
14 19 I Bobby THOMPSON GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct Volkswagen CC 17 15.889 1:30.723 23
15 41 I Carl BOARDLEY RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport Volkswagen CC 17 20.657 1:30.779 22
16 80 M Tom INGRAM Team Toyota GB with Ginsters Toyota Corolla 17 22.420 1:27.817 3
17 32 I Daniel ROWBOTTOM Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 17 24.492 1:31.237 21
18 16 I Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 17 32.648 1:30.659 9
19 8 I Mark BLUNDELL TradePriceCars.com Audi S3 17 32.804 1:31.278 26
20 28 I Nicolas HAMILTON ROKiT Racing with Motorbase Ford Focus RS 17 39.108 1:31.773 28
21 4 I Sam OSBORNE Exceler8 Motorsport MG6 17 39.963 1:31.768 30
22 37 I Rob SMITH Exceler8 Motorsport MG6 17 40.576 1:32.038 24
23 15 M Tom OLIPHANT Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 17 50.830 1:29.860 18
24 22 I Chris SMILEY BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R 17 54.238 1:28.239 27
25 303 I Matt SIMPSON Simpson Racing Honda Civic Type R 17 1:12.192 1:30.909 17
26 9 M Rob COLLARD Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 17 1:13.562 1:29.785 19
27 777 I Michael CREES GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct Volkswagen CC 17 1:17.189 1:31.835 25
28 12 I Stephen JELLEY Team Parker Racing BMW 125i M Sport 16 + 1 LAP 1:30.088 12
R 31 I Jack GOFF RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport Volkswagen CC 1 DNF 1:56.806 16
NS 24 I Jake HILL TradePriceCars.com Audi S3 DNS N/A 29