Difficult start to WTCC Valencia for Team Aon
The second race weekend of the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship in Valencia, Spain has seen Arena run Team Aon drivers James Nash and Tom Chilton qualify 16th and 21st respectively in their Ford Focus touring cars.
Having already taken to the track earlier in the day for the two practice sessions, both drivers were feeling comfortable with their cars and the set up changes which had been made since the previous round in Monza.
As qualifying got underway during the warm Spanish afternoon, both Chilton and Nash were setting very similar sector times, within the opening minutes of the session Nash had jumped up to seventh while Chilton was in twelfth. However as more cars took to the track the times were becoming more and more competitive which saw both Nash and Chilton slipping a little down the order.
With 13 minutes of the session remaining both drivers took to the pits for new tyres, Nash was still holding onto his top 10 position in eighth while Chilton was in fifteenth. As the midway point approached both drivers once again took to the track to improve on their initial laps.
Shortly after re-joining the on track action it was a couple of quick laps from Lukoil Racing’s Gabriele Tarquini and Chevrolet’s Alain Menu which knocked Nash out of the top 12 position he needed to proceed into the second qualifying session.
As the clock counted down the final five minutes both Chilton and Nash were setting their fastest laps and although completing a last minute tyre change and subsequent flying lap, they were unable to improve as the crossed the finish line. Nash will start tomorrow’s race in P16 while Chilton will start in P20.
Reflecting on his qualifying session, Nash said ‘It was a bit of a difficult qualifying session for us, I felt as though the car and myself were able to get within the top twelve but there were a few little errors which mean I find myself in 16th position instead.
‘It’s a new car and a new challenge for the whole team but if any team can continue to develop this car to the sharp end of things – it’s these guys. Tomorrow we’ll definitely be racing forward.’
The first race of the weekend gets underway in Valencia at 14.35 local time.