Team Aon were left to rue the wet conditions that prevented them for extracting the potential from a raft of new upgrades at Croft. Much of Saturday's running was affected by the rain and race one started on a slippery track before eventually drying out.
Tom Chilton had the best time of the three Global Ford Focus drivers with three points finishes, although none of them were higher than sixth. Chilton admitted that the team had testing in mind during Saturday practice but the rain scuppered those plans, putting them on the back foot for the rest of the weekend.
“We had a lot of new parts on the car at Croft but we were scuppered by the good old British weather,” explained Chilton. “We have three drivers and with time on a dry track, we would have been able to work through a testing programme over the course of this weekend to find out what works and what doesn't. Because it rained, we were on the back foot. By losing so much track time, we were feeling our way with the handling at Croft and we made a couple of radical choices in terms of set-up that didn't go our way. We have more work planned on the car and we will come back stronger from this.”
Tom Onslow–Cole scored a solitary point after coming tenth in race two but the rest of the weekend came without reward for the returning Team Aon driver. Onslow-Cole admitted the changeable weather made it difficult to perfect his set-up, and feels that once that is achieved, there is much more to come from him.
“It has been a real baptism of fire. I was getting familiar with the car in difficult conditions and we were trying some new things in terms of the set-up too. I think we probably went the wrong way with my car in terms of generating grip from the set-up, but we can even take a positive from that because now we know what doesn't work. There is definitely more time to come from me too when I get used to the new Focus.”
Andy Neate's only points of the weekend also came in race two, finishing just ahead of Onslow-Cole in ninth. The 36 year old reverted back to the set-up that served him so well at Oulton Park after a difficult qualifying session, and felt the race two result vindicated his decision.
“I was confident that the previous set-up would allow me to push, and I was right,” said Neate. “Race two was fantastic and I went from 20th to ninth at the finish so it shows that we can get pace from the Ford Focus. With the progress everyone is pushing to make with the car, I am confident ahead of the second half of the year.”
Team Principal Mike Earle believes the aggressive development approach would have paid off given the correct conditions, and expects to be in much better shape after the seven-week summer break.
“This weekend hasn't been one of our most successful,” admitted Earle. “That is what happens when you try to push the boundaries in terms of developing a car quickly, without much track time. We came with a lot of new things to try and we didn't get the right track conditions that we needed to fully refine them which meant all of our drivers were experimenting all the way through the weekend.”
“Now Croft is behind us, we have plenty of time to look through the data and refine the car even further. I believe that a number of steps we have taken are in the right direction and we will work hard over the break to translate that into some top results at Snetterton.”