BTCC: Top Ten Title Showdowns


The 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is once again going down to wire, with five drivers heading to Brands Hatch this weekend all still in with a shot at the title.

Andrew Jordan leads the championship by 34 points, but he could still be beaten to the title by Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden, Colin Turkington or Jason Plato.

With honours hanging in the balance, we at theCheckeredFlag.co.uk take a look back at some of the classic title deciders down the years that have kept fans guessing until the very end.

While points-wise it looks appealling to Jordan, statistically it is just as fruitful to read. Over the past 20 years, only twice has the man leading the championship gone on to lose it, despite the BTCC’s canny ability to make the situation entirely unpredictable…as this countdown will remind you.

10) 2002 – Thompson battles to maiden title

The 2002 season held one of the many rivalries involving Vauxhall team-mates during the early noughties, this time between Yvan Muller and James Thompson, the rivalry reaching a messy stage after Muller thumped Thompson off into the gravel exiting the pits at Druids corner.

That cost Thompson 20 points and set the pair just four points apart, which became equal after an engine change for Thompson at Donington Park before the Brit grabbed the early advantage with pole position in qualifying ahead of Matt Neal and Muller.

After an awful start that dropped him to third, Thompson aggressively forced his way past Muller for second place at McLeans on lap one of the opening race of the curtain-closer, displeasing his team-mate who slipped to fourth.

Another bold move from Thompson was to follow on Neal for the race lead at Redgate, Thompson claiming the victory from a charging Andy Priaulx racing for the works Honda squad at the time in the UK series before his World Touring Car Championship fame, Muller left with it all to do after finishing fourth.

The final race of the season was a chaotic one, the Vauxhalls having to fight it out from row two behind Priaulx and Neal. Muller tried a late lunge at the chicane on Neal’s Egg Sport Astra for second, but was elbowed aside on the corner exit where carnage soon erupted in the duels for fourth.

Further contact with Paul O’Neill terminally wounded Muller’s Astra and left him a retirement, gifting Thompson the championship on the spot and allowing him to celebrate a maiden BTCC crown earlier than planned.

Alan Morrison claimed his first win for Honda, while Muller would get his revenge a season later.

(All photos courtesy of btcc.net)