Points for Team Aon in both races
Team Aon’s James Nash has scored points in both races this weekend at the Salzburgring, Austria. Having qualified 13th the Brit driver made his way up to finish in a strong tenth position in both races. Team mate Tom Chilton started race one from the back of the grid after a penalty, however made up a handful of places to finish 16th and 11th respectively.
Despite a difficult qualifying for the team on Saturday both drivers were looking strong to make up places from their starting positions. The first race of the day was a reserved affair from the start and by the end of the first lap Nash had lost one place while Chilton had made up a handful to place him 17th.
Both Nash and Chilton made up one place with the retirement of Alberto Cerqui and gained a further place after Darryl O’Young’s off track excursion put him in the gravel and out of the race. This ultimately brought out the safety car for a few laps while the stricken car was removed to a safer place.
A clean restart with no positions lost or gained ensured Nash was P12 and Chilton P15 as the race got back underway. However just a few minutes later contact between Aleksei Dudukalo and Mehdi Bennani elevated both Team Aon drivers up the field and Nash into the points. As they crossed the finish line Nash picked up a point for tenth place while Chilton finished 16th having made his way through the grid from his last place grid slot.
With less than an hour between the two races it was a quick turnaround for the team as Chilton and Nash made their way back out on the grid for the final race of the weekend.
As the lights went green both Team Aon drivers once again made good clean starts with Chilton making up three places to put him 16th; Nash meanwhile was holding on to 13th place.
After a few laps it became clear that many drivers were having issues up and down the grid. Tiago Montiero was the first to suffer as he locked his wheels which sent him straight on at turn one.
Next it was Alain Menu who hit the gravel, closely followed by Alex MacDowall on the very same corner. Soon enough most of the front wheel drive cars were falling by the wayside; Gabriele Tarquini and Dudukalo both had front left punctures while Di Sabitino also lost out in the closing laps.
With all of the problems around them Nash and Chilton had moved up to a solid 11th and 12th place by the last lap. However a problem for one of their competitors on the very last lap meant that Nash collected the final point for finishing tenth; Chilton was just outside in 11th.
Having picked up points in both races James said, ‘It’s been quite a challenging weekend for me, and I didn’t feel that I maximised my own performance during qualifying yesterday. However these two races have given us a strong idea of the direction we need to be going in. It’s great to have scored points in both races this weekend – to be consistent and walk away with points during both races is always a positive.’
Reflecting on the day’s racing, Tom said ‘I made great starts on both the rolling and standing starts – making up two or three cars by the first corner in each race. Considering we’ve had a few problems this weekend I was really happy to have gone from last to 11th. It was quite interesting seeing everybody spinning off around me during the last race – it shows how hard everyone was pushing this weekend.
‘Every session we’ve gone out we’ve made the car go faster by using a different direction on the set-up so I’m looking forward to getting back in the car in Portimao so we can continue to go faster.’