Team Aon driver Tom Chilton took a superb victory in the Global Ford Focus Touring Car yesterday afternoon, in the final round of the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone. Chilton stole the lead at the start, and despite intense pressure from second placed man Jason Plato, would never relinquish the lead to take his second victory of the season.
The final race of the 2011 season kicked off as the sun began to sink low over the Silverstone circuit. With the top nine finishers from race two reversed for the race three grid, Chilton was happy to line up second for the final race this afternoon. Onslow-Cole lined up in seventh place having finished race two third, while Neate was 11th on the grid.
As the lights went out, Chilton was forced to defend from third placed man Plato off the line and managed to pass pole sitter MacDowall to take the lead at the first corner. Plato followed Chilton past MacDowall and was a close second to the Team Aon man. Onslow-Cole was up to sixth, while Neate was unfortunately out of the race following contact from two cars and a puncture which put him into retirement.
By lap four, Chilton was still leading, just under four tenths ahead of Plato in a tense fight for the lead. Onslow-Cole was sixth behind Andrew Jordan and just ahead of championship leader Matt Neal.
At the front, Plato continued to keep Chilton under intense pressure for the final victory of the season. The gap between the leaders varied between three tenths and half a second, with Chilton having to push hard to stay ahead. By lap eight, Plato was right on the bumper of the new Global Ford Focus. Chilton continued to withstand the pressure to stay ahead and by lap ten the gap was back up to half a second.
Onslow-Cole was also under pressure from the two Hondas who were involved in their own fight for the championship title. By lap 14, the Team Aon driver was just over seven tenths of a second ahead of the championship contenders.
Chilton meanwhile was still keeping Plato at bay. By lap 18, Onslow-Cole was heading the fight for sixth, ahead of the two Hondas, Rob Austin and Mat Jackson. Austin was the quickest of the cars behind Onslow-Cole and having passed Neal on lap 19, set out in search of the Team Aon driver.
Plato ran wide on lap 20, to increase the gap to Chilton to nine tenths with just two laps remaining. Onslow-Cole’s race wasn’t over however, as an aggressive tap by Austin put the Focus driver into a big slide. Onslow-Cole managed to hold on to fend off the Hondas, although Austin was able to get past.
At the front Chilton crossed the line to take a superb victory 1.4 seconds ahead of Plato. Onslow-Cole was seventh having held off newly crowned champion Matt Neal over the final two laps.
Race winner Chilton said, “Obviously I’m delighted to win the last race of the season. I think it shows how much progress we’ve made this year and I’d like to say thanks to the team for continuing to work so hard on a new car. To achieve five podiums and two race wins in its first season shows the real potential of the new Focus.
“Jason [Plato] was pretty close at points but I just concentrated on driving my own race and not making any mistakes. Its hugely rewarding to lead the last race of the season from the first corner to the chequered flag and I think it shows us what is possible for the future.”
Delighted Team Manager Alan Cole added, “Tom drove a fantastic race to withstand a lot of pressure without making a single error. To beat an unballasted Chevrolet which has the benefit of several years development with the new Global Ford Focus shows that the car is a world beater and has great potential for the future. To finish the season with a race win is a testament to the hard work the team have put in this year.”Click here for the Tom Chilton web site - designed and built by Racecar