TEAM AON CONTINUE CHAMPIONSHIP CHALLENGE Team Aon kept alive their hopes of championship glory in this seasons Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship by recording a solid set of results, including a victory for Tom Onslow-Cole in today's...
TEAM AON CONTINUE CHAMPIONSHIP CHALLENGE
Team Aon kept alive their hopes of championship glory in this seasons Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship by recording a solid set of results, including a victory for Tom Onslow-Cole in today's penultimate round of the series at Donington Park.
The first of the days three races started under cloudy skies with the two Team Aon cars filling the front row of the grid following their fantastic qualifying performance yesterday. As the lights went green, pole-sitter Tom Chilton got too much wheel spin from his Ford Focus ST, allowing team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole to lead the early stages, before a safety car on lap 6 interrupted proceedings.
When the safety car returned to the pits all hell broke loose as a chain reaction of events, that started with Gordon Shedden's Honda tapping leader Onslow-Cole into a slide. The resulting concertina effect ended with a spectacular six car incident at the tight chicane at the end of the Donington Park circuit. Championship leader Jason Plato's race was over on the spot with his car wedged into the barrier, whilst championship challengers Matt Neal and Team Aon's Onslow-Cole sustained heavy damage, but were able to continue. Unsurprisingly the safety car re-emerged whilst the marshals worked to tidy up the wreckage.
At the re-start Chilton took up the pursuit of victory, pushing to close the gap to Gordon Shedden in-front of him, but he was unable to pass the Honda and came home in second. Onslow-Cole brought his wounded Focus ST home in 8th to secure 4 valuable championship points.
Race two of the day saw a spectacular drive from Onslow-Cole, following his frustrating race one. From 8th on the grid Onslow-Cole perfectly balanced aggression and speed to cross the line in third at the end of the first lap. He then picked his way past Mat Jackson's BMW. He took the lead at the end of lap 10, after passing Shedden into the final chicane, easing away to his fourth victory of the season. Tom Chilton struggled with the handling of his car, after having to carry an additional 36 kilos of success ballast following his race one podium, he brought the car home in fourth to add to his championship tally.
The traditional reverse grid for race three of the day saw number nine drawn, putting Onslow-Cole back to the fifth row, Chilton started from 6th position. After the carnage of the mornings races, the traditionally manic race three ran more smoothly than perhaps expected, passing without any major incidents or safety cars. Onslow-Cole's success ballast laden Focus started and finished ninth, whilst Chilton made up one position to finish fifth, meaning both Team Aon cars scored points in every race of the day.
Tom Onslow-Cole (#21), BTCC Standings: 4th -- 200 points.
"The first race was a struggle, one nudge and we went backwards from P1. In the end I was quite happy to get the car home as we sustained quite a lot of damage. Race two was a fantastic result, one of my wins coming through from eighth. Sadly we couldn't end the day on another high as the success ballast meant we struggled with the car in race three. We're 24 points behind Jason (Plato) now going into the finale, which is do-able, but as always it will be very tough!"
Tom Chilton (#23), BTCC Standings: 5th -- 171 points.
"Three points finishes for me today, but I had hoped for more after securing pole position yesterday. I struggled with the car on the brakes all day and so didn't gain as many points as we would have liked. That is the way it goes sometimes though, the BTCC is an ultra-competitive series and today proved that."
Mike Earle, Team Principal: 2nd -- 346 points (Team) & 2nd -- 491 points (Constructor).
"It was a weekend of mixed fortunes and we are slightly disappointed. Having had both cars on the front of the grid from qualifying, we didn't quite get the points haul we had hoped for. Onslow-Cole's win was obviously the highlight of the day. This weekend has demonstrated that we still have some work to do on the set-up of the car when it is carrying success ballast. The Brands Hatch finale will be what it will be, we'll go there and give it our best shot, the car was strong there at the start of the season and so fingers crossed we can push Jason all the way to the end."
-source: team aon