Sutton seals BTCC Drivers’ Championship as Cook claims back-to-back Brands Hatch wins

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Jakob Ebrey Photography
Ash Sutton - Laser Tools Racing - Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Josh Cook has claimed back-to-back BTCC wins at Brands Hatch holding his nerve despite multiple Safety Car periods and maximum success ballast to seal a fifth win of the season – more than any other driver.

Despite that, he was long out of contention for the Drivers’ Championship with Ash Sutton sealing his third crown with a race to spare without the need for the usual frantic showdown in Race Three adding to his victories in 2017 and 2020 with another excellent season from the 27-year-old.

This was due to his margin pre race with a poor showing from Sutton needed and likely a win from Colin Turkington to force it to be decided in Race Three.

Finishing behind Cook was further strong showings from Dan Lloyd and Gordon Shedden who continue their brilliant weekends albeit with the success of Sutton stealing the headlines.

Cook held the lead off the line as Turkington went on the inside of Sutton to take the place but carnage ensued from there as Proctor went off at Druids into the barrier with a tag from Lloyd in the braking zone.

Jackson then spun after contact from Chilton with Oliphant, Morgan and Ingram collected in the incident and the race neutralised with multiple cars needing to be recovered.

Ingram’s fight for 3rd in the championship was stricken as he was delayed and tagged by Morgan and he went down to 23rd place as a result.

The restart was very late and huge gaps opened up in the pack. Rowbottom was on the defence from Turkington with Sutton behind him with Cook, Lloyd and Shedden surging away.

Further down, Hill who was going for third in the title fight surged past Boardley and cemented with a fastest lap and into the top 15. At the top of the pack, Lloyd was defending from Shedden which potentially would allow Cook’s ballast laden Honda to get away.

More mayhem saw Butcher sliding all over the place and Moffat gave him a bit of room and he went sideways and hit Smiley before going into Jelley which dropped him down the order.

Hill continued to surge into the top 10 past Goff, Osborne and Smiley with the latter falling down the order as a legacy of the contact.

Rowbottom went sideways and Turkington took advantage while Sutton couldn’t as he went into 4th place on Lap 11/17. Ingram continued his charge into 14th place from the back.

Hamilton was off into the gravel at Westfields on Lap 13/17 which threw a potential safety car into the mix which was deployed. This bunched them up and potentially threw a lifeline for Turkington.

Safety car was in at Lap 15/17 and Cook surged away again pulling a gap on Lloyd and Shedden with three laps to run. Further down, Ingram continued to surge back towards his rival Hill.

Cook lapped Lloyd by a second as he went round for a penultimate time and with Turkington not able to get up the road, Sutton was surging towards the Drivers’ title. It was another race win over the chequered flag ahead of Lloyd, Shedden and Sutton claimed it with a race to spare.

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