Brands Hatch: Team AON qualifying report

TEAM AON READY TO FIGHT AT CHAMPIONSHIP SHOWDOWN The final race weekend of the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship sped into Brands Hatch today. Team Aon began their final push for championship glory in what has so far been a...

TEAM AON READY TO FIGHT AT CHAMPIONSHIP SHOWDOWN

The final race weekend of the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship sped into Brands Hatch today. Team Aon began their final push for championship glory in what has so far been a superb season for the Arena Motorsport-run Ford squad.

Cloudy October skies greeted the Aon squad as they began the morning's two practice sessions on the all important championship-deciding weekend. The day started well for championship leader Jason Plato as he set the pace in the opening session of the day, despite carrying the maximum success ballast [as virtue of his championship lead]. Tom Onslow-Cole and Tom Chilton set the 4th and 10th fastest times respectively as they worked through their programme of qualifying and race set-up, honing their cars' handling for the short and twisty Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.

Practice two followed a similar pattern with once again the two Chevrolet's dominating proceedings at the top of the time sheets. The two Calor-powered Ford's suffered slightly as the cool track temperatures meant the Focus STs struggled with traction through Brands Hatch's undulating acceleration zones, leaving them 5th and 6th on the time sheets.

As the all important half an hour qualifying session began, the cloud cover increased and rain threatened, but other than a few spots it never materialised into enough to affect lap-times. The theme of Chevrolet dominance continued from the morning's sessions, as Plato set the early pace, comfortably securing pole position. The two Honda Civics also brought themselves into contention as they took second and third spots on the grid. Thus, the top three in the Drivers Championship fill the first three spots on the grid.

Tom Chilton ended the session in 5th place as the top Ford, a quarter of a second adrift of Plato's pole time. Onslow-Cole endured a frustrating session as he struggled with over-steer and ended qualifying in 10th spot. With three races tomorrow, 51 points up for grabs and the front three in the championship starting together, there is bound to be fireworks at the front of the pack. ITV4 are showing all three races live from 10:30am so the BTCC fans won't miss a second of the action.

Tom Onslow-Cole (#21), BTCC Standings: 4th -- 200 points (Drivers) & 1st -- 241 (Independents).

"It is still all to play for, although that obviously wasn't the qualifying we needed. We are throwing everything at it though, we just needed a few tenths to be up there with Jason. We took a risk on the set-up to try and find that time, which didn't pay off. We can bounce back from this though, I need a good start and hopefully we can come through to the top five, then it is all to play for in race two."

Tom Chilton (#23), BTCC Standings: 5th -- 171 points (Drivers) & 3rd -- 219 (Independents).

"I'm quite happy with that, it is always so close around here, but I do love this place. The circuit was quite greasy at the start of qualifying and so we elected to just leave our rear tyre's on for each qualifying run, where as normally you would always have brand new tyres and the extra temperature in them seemed to help us as I think 5th was the best we could hope to achieve today."

Mike Earle, Team Principal: 2nd -- 346 points (Team) & 2nd -- 491 points (Constructor).

"We are stunned by the pace of the Chevrolet today! Especially Plato, who's on pole with 45 kilo's of ballast which is almost unheard of. Tom Chilton did well to get up to 5th and we are obviously a little disappointed with 10th for Onslow-Cole. But we'll give it everything tomorrow and count the points up at the end of the day and see where we are."

-source: team aon

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series BTCC