With only one race weekend left Team Aon still have their eyes on titles on several fronts after a “solid” Sunday at Donington Park.
The highlight of the day came in the second of the day's three races when Tom Onslow-Cole took a crucial win – and a “fantastic result” in his own words – to boost his chances of taking the overall drivers' championship. He leapt from eighth on the grid to fourth on the opening lap, before gradually progressing through the top three, taking the lead from Gordon Shedden on lap ten at the chicane.
It was the high point in Onslow-Cole's weekend. An early lead in the first race had only resulted in an eighth place finish, the Ford driver one of the victims of a chaotic lap after an early safety car period. Shedden had nudged him sideways through McLean annoying the pack to try and file their way past the Focus on their way to chicane.
Matt Neal's Honda was the first car to run wide, sending a foam bale onto the track, Onslow-Cole taking out several others as he tried to avoid the errant Civic. The result saw two drivers forced to retire, the safety car called on once more and Onlsow-Cole in sixth, though with heavy damage to the front of the car, leaving him struggling to pace in the final laps.
Race three also saw Onslow-Cole settle for minor points, unable to progress from his slot on the reversed grid with full success ballast to finish ninth.
The results, however, were enough to leave him still in contention for the title on 200 points, only 24 points behind leader Jason Plato and the last of the four drivers still capable of winning the title.
His teammate Tom Chilton is no longer to take that honour despite taking a second, fourth and fifth from the three races. “Three points finishes for me today, but I had hoped for more after securing pole position yesterday,” he admitted. “I struggled with the car on the brakes all day and so didn’t gain as many points as we would have liked. That is the way it goes sometimes though, the BTCC is an ultra-competitive series and today proved that.”
Aside from the possibility of helping his teammate's title tilt Chilton will also have the manufacturers' and teams' titles to race for at the Championship finale at Brands Hatch in three weeks' time. The Ford sit only nine points behind the Hondas of Shedden and Neal in the manufacturers' race while they are 31 points behind the same squad in the teams' title.
“This weekend has demonstrated that we still have some work to do on the set-up of the car when it is carrying success ballast,” said team principal Mike Earle. “The Brands Hatch finale will be what it will be, we’ll go there and give it our best shot, the car was strong there at the start of the season and so fingers crossed we can push Jason all the way to the end.”
“We’re 24 points behind Jason (Plato) now going into the finale, which is do-able,” insists Onslow-Cole looking ahead to the decider. “But as always it will be very tough!”