Tom Chilton: “It was great that we got the Independent win”

by Samuel Gill

Tom Chilton reached the top of the Independent standings after Donington Park with three more solid results including a first Independent win for Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher.

Chilton qualified thirteenth on Saturday and put it down to a red flag on the corner of the chicane halting his progress and that in reality he’d taken confidence from the previous weekend and the double podium that came from it.

“We’ve qualified thirteenth twice in a row now.” said Chilton. “Brands we hadn’t run on the wet tyre before, and then here, every time I was on a fast lap, there was a red flag on the corner of the chicane so I never got the chance to set my best time. I was positive coming into race day after the double podium at Brands from the same position.”

The Reigate driver finished eighth in race one and saw it as a great start especially with the 48kg of championship ballast on board and was a race that for Chilton he wanted to come through unscathed and out of trouble.

Losing the weight he went into Race Two and finished fourth in the end to claim the team’s first ever aforementioned Independent win and the championship lead at that point in proceedings. He spoke of how pleased he was but of course was gutted to miss out on a podium.

“Race one was a great start to the weekend. I carved my way through the field and kept out of trouble and I was really happy with 8th with 48kg on-board. I went into race 2 excited with the weight out, and I went a good half a second a lap faster.

“I was skimming Matt Neal’s bumper at one point and closing in on Ash Sutton. I was so close to the podium. It was great that we got the Independent win and fourth place to take the championship lead.”

Finally in Race Three, he finished the weekend still in the points but in his opinion he struggled in the later laps which meant that he dropped to twelfth. For the 13 time race winner in the BTCC, he saw it as a learning experience as well in terms of the hard tyre heading into Thruxton.

“The reverse grid worked reasonably well in our favour for race 3, but we were on the hard tyre which we know is slower. I wasn’t too upset with my pace at the start of the race, but it dropped off a cliff in the second half of the race. We really struggled on the later laps and went from a comfortable fifth place to a twelfth place.

“We’ve learnt an awful lot about the hard tyre this weekend which is great heading to the next round at Thruxton. In race two I was leading both the overall and Independent championship, which is the first time I’ve ever done that.”

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