Hard day in Austria for Team Aon
It was a hard day for Team Aon today in Austria as the team began the sixth round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship at the Salzburgring. Despite rapid development on the Global Ford Focus, James Nash just missed out on a top 12 position in the dying seconds of qualifying while Tom Chilton was involved in an accident causing damage to his car and ending his qualifying run.
Qualifying was met with a slightly delayed start – an accident during the previous on-track action had left the circuit slippery and unsafe, however soon enough the lights went green and the Team Aon men took to the track for the 20 minute qualifying 1 session.
Helping each other out around the track Nash was sixth during the opening laps while Chilton was twelfth. Continuing to take advantage of the slip stream on the long straights the Team Aon drivers were running well before peeling off to the pits for new tyres and a fresh run.
As they returned to the track Nash’s best time held him inside the top ten while Chilton was lying in 16th. However several drivers were able to improve and despite setting a consistent run, Nash and Chilton had fallen to P13 and P17 respectively.
Bad luck for Chilton continued as he locked up his brakes on a flying lap which unfortunately resulted in contact with Luqui Moly’s Franz Engstler taking both men out of the qualifying session. The Brit driver will take a five place grid penalty for race one as a result, which now places him at the back of the field.
Meanwhile Nash’s last lap was looking strong enough to put him within the top 12 and into Qualifying 2, but despite lying 12th in the final minutes, a last minute improvement by a rival relegated Nash to 13th.
Team principal Mike Earle reflected "Once again this weekend has been a tough learning curve for the team and while this experience will help us in the future it's frustrating for the drivers. We are gradually making progress and I'm sure both drivers will be pushing hard to make up places on the first race tomorrow."