Tom Chilton has secured Team Aon’s first FIA World Touring Car Championship points after piloting his Ford Focus to seventh position after an eventful first race in this weekend’s Marrakesh WTCC round. James Nash suffered extremely bad luck after being spun into the wall during the opening corners which saw the premature end of his race.
After a strong qualifying session the morning’s big news was that a penalty handed down to Gabriele Tarquini would place Nash on pole for the second race of the weekend; this penalty also elevated the Team Aon driver up to tenth position as he started the rolling start of race one.
Both Team Aon drivers had a clean getaway however shortly after the start Franz Engstler missed his braking point and slammed into Nash, spinning him round and pushing him into the wall and bringing an end to his race. The first lap carnage brought out the safety car while the track was cleared.
Meanwhile Chilton had made his way up to sixth by the end of lap 1 and as the safety car returned to the pits he began to set his sights on attacking the BMW of Stefan D’Aste. Finding the speed easily Chilton made his way past the Italian during lap five and began to pull away focusing on the next driver down the road.
With his sectors getting faster and faster Chilton was holding on to a points paying fifth position and riding the kerbs well. However a slight mistake allowed D’Aste back through and despite trying to reclaim his position the Team Aon driver was unable to do so.
Crossing the finish line in seventh position ensured that Chilton claimed Team Aon’s first points in the WTCC in only their third championship round.
Chilton said, ‘I had a cracking start however I had to make sure that I stayed out of the trouble that was going on ahead of me – which I did thankfully. There were a few battles which I got involved in which made the race very exciting.
‘The team have done a great job all weekend and it feels absolutely amazing to get the first points for them. Obviously I would have liked to have held onto fifth but we can definitely be pleased with our result.’
Mike Earle added, ‘The whole team have worked very hard for this result, not just this weekend but also over the winter in the lead up to our first season in the WTCC. They really deserved the points we’ve picked up today and hopefully they will be the first of many.’