Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher celebrated its third podium of the season during rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Croft, with Tom Chilton claiming a superb 2nd place finish in the final race of the weekend (June 23/24).
Running on the hard-compound option tyre for race 1, Chilton got off to a solid start with 21kg on-board. Taking a big hit from Cammish at the hairpin on lap 5, a heroic save from the Reigate-racer to hold position was rewarded with a points finish of 15th at the line. James Cole ended the opening race with a sound P12 result, picking up another bounty of points for the team’s championship challenge.
Race two was a tale of two halves for the Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher duo. Opening lap contact effectively ended Cole’s race after a heavy shunt tipped the #20 Focus RS into a spin at Tower bend. The Liverpudlian did well to recover and avoid the charging traffic, but was forced to re-join the race at the back – eventually crossing the line in P23.
A superb start from Chilton saw the #3 Focus RS shift up into P7 after just four tours of the circuit. Setting his sights on moving further up the field, the 33-year-old took on Neal’s fast charging Honda to take P6 at the flag – having made up an impressive 9 places over the 15 lap contest.
Starting from P4 by virtue of the reversed grid draw for the final race of the day, another storming start off the line saw Chilton charge up into 2nd on the first corner thanks to a brave move around the outside of Proctor and Neal. After closing down race leader Lloyd in the opening laps and almost challenging for the win, Chilton held off a late challenge from Proctor to claim P2 at the flag and collect his third podium from the last two race meetings.
James Cole salvaged the best finish possible from the final race of the weekend, battling hard to eventually bring the #20 Focus RS home in P20.
The weekend’s race results see Chilton leap to 5th in the Drivers’ Championship standings, with Cole at the midway point of the table in 15th. Both drivers have also cemented their spots in the Independent standings with Chilton in 2nd and Cole 9th.
Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher now lie 4th in the overall Teams’ Championship and 2nd in the Independent Standings – just 6 points behind the current leaders as the season enters its mid-season summer break before reconvening at Snetterton for the 60th anniversary celebratory weekend on July 28/29.
Team Principal David Bartrum:
“Croft has always been dominated by the RWD cars so you come with the plan to minimise the amount of points that they can take away from the weekend. You don’t want to lose too much ground to the RWD teams. I expected the BMWs to be an all-out force, but I think the weight did its job this weekend. The Subaru’s seem to have found religion, have been reborn and they’re now supersonic. A complete turnaround from the back of the grid to front. It appears miracles do happen!
“The team have done a really good job this weekend. Tom turned around a poor start to get two great results and a podium. James has had a tough time again, through no fault of his own but I’m really pleased with the team and everyone’s efforts. We now go into break with a plan for testing, a little bit of a sort out and then we go to five circuits that we have a good history at and in a much stronger championship position.”
#3 Tom Chilton:
“What a turnaround! To start from P17 on Saturday to end 2nd on Sunday is a great result. It was a massive turnaround from qualifying. We went away on Saturday night, had a rethink and changed the set-up. We knew we had to pull it back and we nailed it.
“We got a great start in the last race. The medium tyre was the tyre to be on this weekend and that showed in the last race especially. I was lucky to hold onto 2nd at the end of race 3 to get that podium. I’m really, really happy for everyone in the team that we managed to claw back all the points that we could.
“We’re now 5th in the championship heading into the break. It’s a very nice place to be and we can focus on improving the car for the last five rounds. You sometimes need that bit of luck in the BTCC and I’m hoping that this is a sign of what’s to come in the 2nd half of the season.”
#20 James Cole:
“We had a competitive car in qualifying and race 1 and started the weekend just as we wanted. We then got taken out on the opening lap of race 2, and as we all know that ruins your weekend. A top 10 and potential reverse grid was absolutely on the cards and that would have been a completely different story. It’s very frustrating that we weren’t able to convert that into results.
“I’ve had better weekends but I’ve also had worse. We’ve reached the half-way point of the season now and looking back we haven’t had luck on our side for a good few of the rounds, but the rounds that we have, we’ve capitalised on them. Hopefully we can make up for those lost opportunities in the 2nd half, because the car absolutely has the potential.”