Chilton holds his hands up after highs and lows at Brands Hatch
Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher’s Tom Chilton produced some fantastic results at Brands Hatch yesterday (7 April), despite receiving a post-race penalty in the final encounter.
Chilton finished the races in third, ninth and second respectively, but it was his race three performance that provided a bittersweet moment for the Surrey man.
The Ford Focus driver was embroiled in a battle for victory with the BMW of Stephen Jelley and Honda of Matt Neal, which included a series of exciting passing attempts.
Chilton’s Ford Focus had seemingly clinched first place as he completed his move by Neal along the start/finish straight on lap 13, but not before unfair contact was made, resulting in a post-race penalty.
As part of the Driving Standards Guidelines issued to all drivers, ‘A driver who gains an unfair advantage through contact caused by them will be penalised, unless they surrender that advantage before a further lap is completed’, and this is something that Chilton failed to do during the incident.
Ironically, Jelley made similar contact with Neal during the race in a separate incident but relinquished his position as the guidelines dictate.
“The decision after race 3 was a fair cop!” said Chilton. “I pushed to pass Matt Neal, and they’ve pushed me back with a 5-second penalty which meant I ended up finishing 2nd overall.
“Obviously, I’m gutted that I lost the win, but in hindsight, I should have backed off to let him back through. I genuinely hadn’t realised that I had done it until I watched the on-board back. I’m holding my hands up.
“Even so, it’s been a great start to our season. It’s all to play for heading to Donington Park. We’re in a great position and we’ll keep working hard and pushing forward.”
Chilton was a star performer throughout the event in Kent, storming through from 13th on the grid to take a podium in the opener amid greasy conditions.
Race 2 proved to be more of a scrappy affair for the Motorbase squad. Running the soft-option tyre, Chilton also carried 39kg of success ballast on-board the #3 Focus. A strong start for the Gallagher-backed driver saw him move up to P2 but he later fell down to ninth after coming under relentless pressure.
Then came his exciting performance in the finale, which had Chilton himself reflecting on a job well done overall.
“We’ve had lots of ups and downs this weekend! Saturday was a pretty awful day if I’m honest. Considering all of the work and testing we’ve done in the pre-season it didn’t go in our favour in qualifying.
“But actually 13th wasn’t the end of the world after all, and we’re coming away from this weekend with two podiums, three top ten finishes and currently 2nd in the championship.”