Why pressure is on Chilton in WTCC Trophy battle

Why pressure is on Chilton in WTCC Trophy battle

28/10/2017 at 12:00Updated 28/10/2017 at 13:09

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WTCC Trophy leader Tom Chilton admits he’s under a “bit of pressure” at FIA WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Japan this weekend.

The Briton moved into the outright lead of the championship for independent racers at the previous event in China having tied on points with countryman Rob Huff and Sébastien Loeb Racing team-mate Mehdi Bennani.

And such is the calibre of his pursuers, Chilton is expecting a tough test when Twin Ring Motegi hosts the World Touring Car Championship for the third time.

“It’s a nice feeling to be leading but it’s also a bit of pressure because I’ve got to keep Rob Huff, an ex-world champion, and my team-mate Mehdi, who is just behind him in the standings and was world independent champion last year, behind me. They’re both great drivers and they’re both sniffing at my tail trying to bite me. It’s very very important to have a solid weekend because we’re getting to the end of the year.”

All three WTCC Trophy contenders are Citroën C-Elysée-mounted this weekend. And with the French machines carrying 40 kilograms of success ballast – half the amount fitted in the Honda Civic WTCCs and 30 kilograms less than the trio of Volvo S60 Polestar racers – Chilton had been eying a strong overall result until the rain set in.

“When we were 80 kilos last year I really felt it here braking down the steep hills and accelerating up the steep hills. It makes a really big difference, especially on tyre life in the races. But it’s looking like a wet Sunday and there won’t be such an advantage to be lighter in the rain.”

Chilton was P10 in Free Practice 1 today, while Huff was fourth and Bennani P13.