Team Aon faced excessive tyre wear at Croft this weekend, but despite the problems both drivers came away with valuble championship points.
The first race was compromised when high track temperatures combined with the turbo-powered Ford Focus’ high levels of torque led to high tyre wear, leaving both Tom Chilton and Tom Onslow-Cole unable to push to their full potential. Pole-sitter Chilton would finish the race down in eighteenth after having to pir for tyres while team-mate Onslow-Cole managed to nurse his car home to eighth place.
“We’ve shown that we have no problems with speed over one lap several times this year” said Chilton, “That’s why we’re so good in qualifying, but that hasn’t fully translated to this weekend’s races unfortunately. Race one was a challenge; I started off well and was in second place for the first six laps. I even posted a time that was very close to that race’s fastest lap but that’s actually not a good thing in these hot temperatures. I was pushing too hard on my tyres and shredded them very quickly. That translated into going backwards within the field and I ended up 18th. I even pitted as I thought I might have had a puncture but it was extreme tyre wear instead.”
After hard work by the team for the second race the results were better, Onslow-Cole finishing fifth and Chilton moving up the field from eighteenth to eleventh.
“The heat definitely did not help us today,” added Chilton, “but everyone was suffering from the same thing to some extent. It’s unfortunate that it’s affecting us more but with a turbo-powered car, we have more torque and that’s hurting our tyres. This is the first time we have struggled with tyres though and we’re improving with each outing. Race three showed that with our best results of the day.”
Race three would see Chilton battle through the on-track carnage and bring his Ford Focus home just short of a podium finish as he passed the chequered flag in fourth.
For Tom Onslow-Cole a great start saw him jump from fourth to second by the first corner as Andrew Jordan leapt away in to the lead. Despite contact through Hawthorne Bend Onslow-Cole kept control of his LPG-powered Ford and held on to take another second podium step finish.
“We had an outside chance of moving up in the championship this weekend so the aim was to gain as many points as possible and catch up with [Jason] Plato and [Matt] Neal.” explained Onslow-Cole.
“I had a decent start to race one and got up to fourth place but the car developed a technical glitch, which lost me some power. Thankfully we got back up to speed but I was lower down in the field by then.”
“I really struggled with tyres on the last five laps of race one so the team worked on solving that before race two. They managed it; I was able to go quicker and my tyres lasted longer, which is an amazing feat from the engineers! It’s very tight at the front of the field speed-wise and we made a few further tweaks before race three so we hoped a podium could be on the cards and it was!”
“This weekend was a great opportunity to move up in the championship, especially as Plato and Neal didn’t score in today’s last race. I’m now leading the Independents’ standings, which is a good boost ahead of the next race weekend.”