Sutton Crowned Champion as Austin Wins Race 3 at Brands

Credit: BTCC Media

Ashley Sutton secured a first BTCC championship title in the final round of the season, taking advantage of an early race retirement for title rival Colin Turkington.

Both Turkington and Sutton had excellent starts, picking their way past several cars to challenge for the top five after the opening lap. The title was decided shortly thereafter when Turkington was collected by a recovering Mat Jackson, who had been forced wide at Graham Hill Bend by Tom Ingram behind.

The impact from Jackson’s Focus broke the right rear upright of Turkington’s BMW, who immediately pulled into the pits to retire, handing the championship to Sutton.

“There’s nothing you can do in that situation,” Turkington told ITV Sport afterwards. “I think Mat [Jackson] was coming back onto the track, and the vision probably isn’t that good and he didn’t see me. It’s one of these things, [I was] just unlucky.

“Some days it goes your way and some days it doesn’t. It’s not in us to give up. It’s a sport with such fine margins, and a lot of the time the end result is ultimately out of your control. We needed a bit of luck there that we didn’t get, so fair play to Ash as he’s driven well all year.

“I just wish it was me on the top step of the podium, but not this time.”

Out front, Rob Austin had taken the lead at Surtees on the first lap, diving to the inside of pole-sitter Mike Epps. A safety car was deployed shortly after Turkington’s race-ending accident when Senna Proctor ran wide into the gravel at Druids, as many cars struggled to stay on top of the rapidly changing conditions.

Austin pulled away from Epps behind when the race resumed, creating a comfortable gap which the Handy Motorsport driver would manage carefully after Jack Goff passed Epps for second at the midway point.

Ingram and Sutton would both go on to pass Epps late in the race, with Sutton moving into the final podium place in the closing laps.

Behind Epps in fifth was Gordon Shedden, who could not hold Ingram at bay for third in the championship standings despite the valiant efforts of team-mate Matt Neal. Shedden had been gifted a position by his Honda team-mate, only to run wide into the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend a lap later.

Neal was able to block Jackson behind while Shedden retook sixth place around the outside of Druids, which ultimately dropped Neal to eighth as the opportunistic Jackson capitalised on his lost momentum to squeeze past at Surtees for seventh.

Chris Smiley turned in one of the strongest performances of the season closer, charging all the way up to 11th from his 28th place grid slot.

1Rob AustinHandy Motorsport31:25.679
2Jack GoffEurotech Racing+3.185
3Ashley SuttonAdrian Flux Subaru RacingM+4.741
4Tom IngramSpeedworks Motorsport+10.965
5Mike EppsAutoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing+13.978
6Gordon SheddenHalfords Yuasa RacingM+15.024
7Mat JacksonMotorbase Performance+15.330
8Matt NealHalfords Yuasa RacingM+16.008
9Adam MorganCiceley Motorsport+22.924
10Jake HillTAG Racing+24.538
11Chris SmileyBTC Norlin Racing+25.254
12Rory ButcherMotorbase Performance+27.654
13Andrew JordanBMW Pirtek RacingM+29.191
14Aiden MoffatLaser Tools Racing+31.374
15Tom ChiltonPower Maxed RacingM+31.757

Final Championship Classification

1Ashley SuttonAdrian Flux Subaru RacingM372
2Colin TurkingtonTeam BMWM351-21
3Tom IngramSpeedworks Motorsport311-61
4Gordon SheddenHalfords Yuasa RacingM309-63
5Rob CollardTeam BMWM256-116
6Jack GoffEurotech Racing245-127
7Matt NealHalfords Yuasa RacingM243-129
8Mat JacksonMotorbase Performance210-162
9Andrew JordanBMW Pirtek RacingM203-169
10Adam MorganCiceley Motorsport187-185