Continuing the impressive team performance put in last time out at Brands Hatch, all three of Team Aon’s drivers qualified in the top ten Saturday afternoon, for round 28 of the MSA Dunlop British Touring Car Championship. Tom Chilton was the lead Team Aon driver in sixth place, Andy Neate was eighth, and Tom Onslow-Cole was ninth in the third Ford Focus Global Touring Car.
Chilton started off the day with a determined performance to go quickest overall in free practice one, while Onslow-Cole was also amongst the front runners and went third quickest, with Neate also in the top ten in eighth.
After a short debrief the cars were back out on track for the second free practice session. Again all three of the new Global Ford Focus cars were quick, with Chilton, Neate and Onslow-Cole sixth, seventh and ninth quickest respectively.
Conditions were significantly warmer for qualifying than they had been for the two free practice sessions earlier today. Chilton was quick from the outset and went second quickest in the early stages, just 0.001 seconds off provisional pole man Gordon Shedden.
Neate was also amongst the front runners and set a purple first sector but was able to improve over the remainder of the lap. With four minutes to go Chilton was fifth, Neate was eighth and Onslow-Cole was 11th.
As the session drew to a close, the number of drivers getting warnings for exceeding track limits at Copse increased significantly, but Onslow-Cole managed to improve to ninth in the final stages, without taking four wheels off track.
At the chequered flag, once again all three team mates were inside the top ten, emphasising the progress the team has made in recent months. Chilton will start round 28 tomorrow from sixth, with Neate eighth just ahead of Onslow-Cole in ninth.
Reflecting on his session Chilton said, “I feel really happy; the car felt very good and did everything that I wanted to. I’m looking forward to tomorrow; the only concern is if everyone gains an advantage by cutting the kerbs as they did in qualifying today. Hopefully the strict regulations will stop them.”
Team mate Neate was happy with his performance adding, “I’m happy with eighth, although during my first run I thought we had a car good enough for the front row so I was a bit surprised to be sixth. I wrung the neck out of the car, which felt good. We did a race run in free practice two and the car felt good and the pace was brilliant so I feel confident about tomorrow.”
Team Manager Alan Cole was pleased with the team’s overall performance, “I think we’ve seen steady progression from the start of the season and to have all three cars regularly in the top ten in recent sessions highlights that. The pace was good today; all three drivers complained about a little oversteer, but that is normal here and bodes well for the race. I think we’re looking good in race trim.”
Round 28 will kick off BTCC track action thismorning at 11.45 local time. All three races will be covered live on ITV4.Click here for the Tom Chilton web site - designed and built by Racecar