Tom Chilton admitted that a first win in three years was the ideal way to bring the curtain down on his 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season.
The Team Halfords man failed to win in two years with the factory Vauxhall team and had endured a winless 2008 heading into Finals Day at the wheel of his Honda Civic.
The weekend started well when Chilton was the pace setter during free practice, but a damper problem with the car meant he could only qualify down in 13th place on the grid. Another issue with the car in race one prevented Chilton climbing higher than eighth but sixth in race two was good enough to put him on the second row of the grid for the final race once the reverse grid draw took place.
A storming start saw Chilton blast into the lead on the run to Paddock Hill Bend and despite a lengthy Safety Car period following John George's huge accident and oil dropped by the Astra of Martyn Bell, he brought the car home for victory.
“Wow, what a great result,” he said. “I got the best start of my life in the final race and didn't put a foot wrong. The team and I have worked really hard to make the car quicker and we finally found the sweet spot; it showed then. I had a damper problem in qualifying which left me 13th when I thought I could have broken the lap record and then in the first race I had a loose upright but I still finished eighth despite a problem in the car.
“I got sixth in race two which put me third on the grid for race three with the reverse draw and then got into the lead straight away with an amazing start. I was just smiling in the car and it was so nice, I was into a rhythm and nailing everything.
“The team have really deserved the win and to do in front of my own big sponsors, the Halfords guests and all the people here for the weekend from Honda is just fantastic and a great way to end the year.”
Chilton added that it was a relief to have brought his winless streak to an end and said it was an amazing feeling to head into the off-season as the final winner of the 2008 campaign.
“I think it's been three years this week since I last won although there have been podium finishes and it's nice to win,” he said. “It's good for the team to nail that win and everyone can't stop smiling. I ended 2004 with a win in the old Civic and I've done it again here. It's a nice feeling going into Christmas when you see family member you haven't seen for a while and can say you won your last race.
“This year has been one to rebuild myself to the old Tom Chilton. I tried hard at Vauxhall and for whatever reason, last year my car wasn't there and I ended up overdriving. This year I have come back to a small family run team environment and in the last half of the year I think I've been the quickest petrol car.
“It's really nice to have finished with a win, it's an amazing feeling.”