Team Aon emerged from a tricky weekend at Snetterton with some good points on the board in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. After a mixed bag in qualifying, with one driver at the sharp end and one last on the grid, three solid races followed, with both drivers scoring in all three rounds, picking up three podiums between them.
It was Tom Chilton who qualified best, putting his Ford Focus third in the grid. He turned this into a podium finish, with him maintaining third place throughout the race to pick up some valuable points. Tom Onslow-Cole started the race twenty first on the grid, after a ride height infringement left all his times cancelled. He raced a superb race though, fighting his way up the order to finish in sixth and pick up some good points.
With the results of Race one determining the grid positions for race two, Chilton lined up third with Onslow-Cole sixth. Before Race two though, organisers TOCA told Aon to place smaller air restrictors on the car, in an attempt to equalise performance after speed advantages in race one. In the race, it was Onslow-Cole who made an early move, sliding into fourth by the end of lap two, with Chilton remaining in third. The team-mates worked together to perfection on lap eight, with them working together to overtake Mat Jackson at the same time, one moving down the inside and the other the outside. This moved them into second and third, where they stayed until the end of the race.
Race three saw the full top ten reversed for the grid, seeing Onslow-Cole lining up eighth and Chilton ninth. The pair quickly raced through the pack, with Chilton moving up to fourth and Onslow-Cole fifth. The latter's race was to take a turn for the worst though, after contact with Jackson saw him dropped down to sixteenth and last. He managed to pick up a point though after posting the fastest lap of the race. Back at the front, despite immense pressure from Jason Plato, Chilton held on for a solid fourth.
The weekends results has seen the team close the gap in the manufacturer's standings. As for the drivers, Chilton climbs two places in the standings to seventh, while Onslow-Cole remains fourth, though further adrift of those at the top of the standings. He does maintain his lead in the Independents drivers' championship though.
After a good weekend, Tom Chilton said:“I tried to get a good start for Race One but it's very hard to beat the BMWs off the line. Unfortunately I pushed too hard on the first lap and fell two places but I was able to muscle my way back in fairly quickly. I stayed third until the end of the race but I was happy with my overtaking manoeuvres to get back to that position and it put me in a good place for the next round.
“For Race Two, I had a reasonably good start again and was in the right place when Mat Jackson made a mistake ahead of me. I was able to slipstream him and move aside to pass him, which allowed Tom to catch him too and move forward. Once we were both past, we worked together to tow each other forward and tried to catch Jason Plato ahead but that wasn't possible.
“I started ninth in Race Three and thought another top finish might well be possible so I'm happy with fourth. It's not that easy to pass people when you start within the top 10 as everyone is so fast but there are always opportunities to exploit on the first lap, before everyone is settled.”
His team mate Tom Onslow-Cole said:“I couldn't see the start lights in Race One, that's how far back P21 is! I was fortunate though, our car comes off the line very well and, as the start was key in this race, I'm glad to say I had a very good one. A top 10 finish was the aim and everything fell into place well during the race. By the end of lap one I was 12th, although the climb to the midfield wasn't the easiest; my car had quite a few bumps by the end of the race! It was a great round though and to come through like I did to finish in the points was very rewarding. We finished in the points and kept the championship hopes alive which is so important.
“Our move on Mat Jackson was the highlight of my second race. The way Tom and I worked as a team to pass him, and then to try and catch Jason Plato was very satisfying. We made some tweaks for Race Three and felt quietly hopeful for more podium finishes but it wasn't to be.”