Subaru’s Ash Sutton has been crowned youngest ever BTCC champion after a dramatic day at Brands Hatch.
This year’s British Touring Car Championship came to a nail biting climax as Sutton went into the final weekend with a six point advantage.
Sutton finished third in the opening race, with title rival Colin Turkington crossing the line in 15th position, which pushed Ash’s lead to 24 points.
Turkington made up for this in race two though, surging from 15th on the grid to clinch an emotional win and leaving the title race tantalisingly poised going into the 30th and final round.
Rain caused havoc among the field and an early incident involving Turkington’s 1 Series forced him to retire, leaving Ash to race to another podium finish and his first ever BTCC title in the process.
Sutton’s triumph is all the more impressive as 2017 is only his second year racing in the championship. His incredible season is further defined by six race wins and 14 podium appearances.
Speaking after lifting the BTCC trophy, Ash Sutton said he was “absolutely over the moon”.
He commented: “Everything went as planned [in race one] and we got the result we needed but then come race two, we lost some of the points to Colin that we’d gained in the first part of the day so it was proving to be a real rollercoaster.
“For race three, we started just behind Colin on the grid [and] I knew we had to give it everything we had.
“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.”
Ash confessed that “it didn’t really sink in” that Turkington was no longer in the chas and had to double check a few times to make sure.
Speaking about his collision in the third race, Colin Turkington put it down to hard luck.
“Mat (Jackson of Team Shredded Wheat Racing) wouldn’t even have known I was there,” he said.
“It was nobody’s fault, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and the cards didn’t fall our way. What can I say? We gave it our best shot.”
Stephen Hasley, brand manager at Petrol News, added: “What an amazing finish to another brilliant BTCC season. The whole Petrol News office congratulates Ash Sutton.”
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