Colin Turkington put pressure on his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rivals with a comfortable lights-to-flag victory in the opening race of the season finale at Brands Hatch GP.
The Northern Irishman survived a spirited attack on the outside at Paddock Hill Bend by Rob Austin‘s Toyota Avensis on the opening lap, untroubled afterwards on his way to clinching a fourth win of the season in the opening 16-lapper of the final day in Kent.
Turkington sprinted to a 4.5s victory ahead of Austin and Josh Cook, that latter clinching third at the final corner from Turkington’s Silverline Subaru Team BMR team-mate, Jason Plato.
Drama meanwhile surrounded many of the top title protagonists on lap two. Rob Collard made a dive inside the slow-starting Hunter Abbott at Paddock Hill Bend, contact switching the places on the corner exit.
A bottleneck effect saw Matt Neal lunge inside Collard’s BMW at Druids, tagging Abbott into a spin ahead of them which was in turn clipped by Andrew Jordan‘s Ford Focus ST. The latter retired on the spot, Collard delayed as the safety car was deployed.
Jordan’s car removed and his title chances significantly dented, Collard slipped back on the restart to 14th briefly after a shuffle at Surtees.
Turkington was untroubled up front, closing his own deficit in the Drivers’ Championship to 20 points as a result. Austin and Plato rounded out the podium ahead of Josh Cook‘s MG in their own three-car battle, Gordon Shedden trimming Tordoff’s series lead to just six points after a fifth place finish.
Adam Morgan split the Halfords Yuasa Racing drivers as Neal took the flag seventh, overtaking Aiden Moffat‘s Mercedes A-Class while Ashley Sutton demoted Tordoff to 10th place with better exit from Surtees on lap 11.
Mat Jackson was 11th after an intense scrap with the latter, Collard finishing 12th and losing vital ground in the title hunt. Plato’s third place however was not enough to keep him in title contention, meaning seven drivers can still be champion by the end of the day.