Newly crowned British Touring Car Champion Ashley Sutton is on a high after clinching both his first title and the first drivers’ championship for his BMR team.
Sutton claimed six victories on his way to the crown, beating Colin Turkington in a dramatic final weekend at Brands Hatch. The latter qualified well down the order for the opening race last Sunday, before a dominant resurgence in the second brought the pair close together again for the finale.
“I’m absolutely over the moon, this is a dream come true!” he said.
The title was settled early in the final race when Turkington was eliminated by a broken rear upright, caused by Mat Jackson returning to the track and into the side of the BMW, having being pushed wide moments earlier by Tom Ingram.
“When I saw him get tangled up at the bottom of Graham Hill Bend, the team came over the radio to tell me he was out of the race and I was free to go and enjoy myself,” explained Sutton.
“I couldn’t believe it, I had to double check a couple of times to make absolute certain and even then, it didn’t really sink in and to top it off I got another podium position.”
“For myself and the team this means absolutely everything, we have all worked very hard for this. It’s been a tough year for Subaru, things haven’t always gone smoothly and we’ve had a lot thrown at us but we’ve just kept picking ourselves back up and made the most of the Subaru Levorg, especially through the corners when we’ve lacked the straight-line speed.”
Sutton was helped on his way to the title by a mid-season surge from Subaru, who had struggled greatly in the opening rounds to keep pace with the likes of BMW and Honda.
“The championship title was always the goal and we always believed, but to finally achieve it is just something else,” said team boss Warren Scott.
“We started off the season knowing that we had the best package on the grid with the Subaru Levorg but we can’t take anything away from the team who have continuously fought through to the bring the car up to being competitive by Oulton Park, it’s from there that we’ve been strong.
Subaru had suffered a disastrous start to the season, their only points at the opening Brands Hatch Indy round coming from a 12th place finish for Sutton’s team-mate Jason Plato.
While no podiums were forthcoming for their other three drivers until the mid point of the season, Sutton scored two podiums and three top tens after Thruxton, which Scott said was vital to his championship success.
“Most people will probably say that we won the Championship with the great points scored at Oulton Park and Croft, but I truly believe the championship was won in race [weekends] one, two and three, where our straight-line performance wasn’t where we wanted.
“With the strength of the team and the drivers we lost the fewest points possible to help us to win the final.
“Ash certainly has been the star of the paddock this year, but we have always known that to be the case. He has a fantastic future ahead of him and one that we are very excited about.”