Team Aon endured a difficult start to the new Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Thruxton, with tyre issues in the opening race hitting both Tom Chilton
and Tom Onslow-Cole
in their first outing running on LPG fuel.
Things had looked good for the team as the pair ran in fourth and fifth in the opening race, but a tyre failure at Church saw Chilton go off heavily into the barriers. Just one lap later, Onslow-Cole suffered the same issue, although he was able to bring his car safely back to the pits.
Chilton's car was repaired in time for race two and he battled up towards the points, but a vibration at the front of the car forced him into the pits to retire, while Onslow-Cole was forced to start the race from the pits after his car failed to get away from the grid at the start of the green flag lap – with twelfth place the best he could managed
Although the pair secured points finishes in the final race – with Onslow-Cole seventh and Chilton eighth – it proved to be a disappointing start to the year for the Ford outfit, with team boss Mike Earle hoping for better when the series heads to Rockingham for round two.
“We expected not just better results, but good results,” he said. “We've had an issue with the unique tyre that everyone has to run here at Thruxton. We weren't the only team to suffer failures in the first race, but that really put us on the back foot as we had to manage that issue along with understanding our particular handling characteristics.
“It could have been a very different weekend if we had finished the first race with both cars in the top five and not had to carry out a major rebuild of Tom Chilton's damaged car. The team has had to work hard and the drivers have coped well with the set-backs. It was much better by the final race and we're looking forward to the next rounds at Rockingham in three weeks time.”