James Nash has added further points to Team Aon’s tally in the World Touring Car Championship after starting the second race of the weekend from pole and finishing in sixth position, despite carrying damage from the previous race. Team mate Tom Chilton found himself squeezed into the pit wall and unfortunately retired later in the race.
Gabriele Tarquini’s disqualification late last night brought news that Nash would start the second race of the weekend in pole position – the Arena run squad’s highest ever start and the first pole position for a Ford marque in the WTCC.
However, Nash's race two pole looked in doubt after the Brit sustained heavy damage in race one after Franz Engstler careered into him on the opening lap. Despite substantial damage, the Arena mechanics worked quickly to fix what they could in the short time available and ensure that he started the race from pole.
As the lights went out Nash made a great start to lead the field into the first corner. Team mate Chilton suffered opposite fortunes however, as he was squeezed into the pit wall by Tiago Montiero and as a result fell back down through the field with the Seat’s bumper still attached to his Ford Focus car. Nash meanwhile continued to hold on to the lead despite pressure from Engstler over the opening laps.
Chilton was fighting well to make his way back through the grid and quickly found himself back in the top 10 after overtaking Darryl O’Young – his sector times continued to fall as he caught up the next car on track
At the front of the field Nash was coming under increasing pressure from the Chevrolets; Yvan Muller overtook the Team Aon driver on lap five before fellow Brit Rob Huff also found a way through a few corners later. Damage from the first race made Nash a sitting duck for the fast approaching Alain Menu, who also made his way past on the sixth lap of the race.
Chilton was still battling well and as he entered the ninth lap of the race and had made his way into a very strong eighth position. However only one lap later Chilton was forced into the pits with damage to his car leaving him side-lined for the rest of the race.
Nash Meanwhile was still driving extremely well in his accident damaged car and held strong to finish the race in a brilliant sixth position – taking Team Aon to their highest finish and providing the team with further points to add to their growing total.
James Nash said, ‘It was a great feeling to have led the race for the amount of time that I did and come home with points for me and the team. Obviously I would have liked to have held onto the lead for longer but I’ve never driven around here before and it seems like a track where experience really pays off.
‘The Team Aon boys did an absolutely stunning job to fix my car up for the race; they really did everything they could in such a limited time.’
Reflecting on the weekend Mike Earle said, ‘It is extremely encouraging to have led a WTCC race with James in only our third event, he did a brilliant job to hold onto that for five laps, especially with the damage from race one. We always said that our main objective for this year was to finish in the top 10 and this weekend we achieved that so the whole team can be proud with the steps they’ve made with the car.
‘It’s also nice to know that we’ve provided the highest finish for a Ford car in the championship, as well as the first pole position.’Click here for the Tom Chilton web site - designed and built by Racecar