Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Race report
BTCC Brands Hatch Grand Prix

BTCC Brands Hatch: Sutton beats Ingram to claim fourth title

Ash Sutton claimed his fourth British Touring Car Championship crown after fending off title rival Tom Ingram throughout the opening race of the Brands Hatch finale.

Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST

Powered by Cataclean

BTCC coverage powered by Cataclean

Sutton equalled the record of four titles held by Andy Rouse and Colin Turkington, and became the first driver in history to scoop the BTCC crown in rear and front-wheel-drive machinery.

The Alliance Racing Ford Focus ST star had to endure a nervy finish though – a late safety car left Sutton looking vulnerable to attack from the Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N of Ingram, who still had a lap of hybrid boost available to Sutton’s zero.

There were two laps of green-flag racing to the chequered flag, and Ingram had a sniff at the NAPA-liveried Ford into Surtees on the first of those.

Ingram saved his hybrid until the final tour, but had run out of tyre grip and Sutton held on to take the flag by 0.603 seconds.

Poleman Sutton also had a challenge at the start from fellow front-row starter Rory Butcher in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla.

Butcher hung on around the outside at Paddock Hill Bend and Druids, allowing Ingram to sneak up the inside and, with his shorter line, demote the Scot to second.

Ingram even had a stab at Sutton into Surtees, but the leader set fastest lap of the race on the second tour, and he and Ingram put a huge amount of daylight between themselves and the rest.

Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST

Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Sutton had the gap at over a second by the third lap, and it generally hovered between 1s and 1.5s until that late safety car.

This was caused when Mikey Doble, the Jack Sears Trophy title contender running eighth in his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra, received a whack from Stephen Jelley’s West Surrey Racing BMW 330e M Sport into Stirlings and plunged headlong into the barrier.

“It’s a massive relief,” said Sutton. “As much as we knew we had a big points gap, Tom was right when he said it was ours to lose.

“The car was absolutely mega and I can’t thank the team enough.

“The special bit is to be the first to take it with rear and front-wheel drive. That’s the one for me, because I don’t plan to leave it at four titles.”

While the leading duo were in a race of their own, there was a ferocious fight for third between Butcher and the Team Hard Cupra Leon of Bobby Thompson.

Like Sutton and Ingram, Thompson had opted for soft Goodyear tyres for this race while most of the field – including Butcher – were on mediums.

Bobby Thompson, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils Cupra Leon

Bobby Thompson, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils Cupra Leon

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

On the fifth lap, Thompson chiselled a gap on the inside of Surtees to wrest the position, but then Butcher dived down the inside at Hawthorns, and the duo ran side by side through Westfield and into Sheene Curve, where contact put Thompson briefly onto the grass.

This brought the battle behind between Dan Rowbottom (Alliance Ford), the WSR BMWs of Jake Hill and Colin Turkington, plus Dan Cammish’s Alliance Ford into the picture, before Butcher and Thompson sprinted away again.

Three laps later, a left-front puncture – which appeared to be completely unrelated to the earlier brush with Thompson – sent Butcher off course at Sheene, and he was forced to the pits for a new tyre before rejoining a lap down.

Turkington, the other of the leading contenders on soft tyres, had moved up to fourth by the safety car, but Thompson held on for an excellent podium finish in the Cupra.

Rowbottom’s stout defensive job throughout the race was finally cracked on the last lap, when Cammish and Hill snuck through for fifth and sixth respectively.

Jelley was eighth, with Ricky Collard (Speedworks Toyota) and Adam Morgan (WSR BMW) completing the top 10.

Doble’s shunt means PMR Vauxhall team-mate Andrew Watson has one hand on the Jack Sears Trophy title, now 37 points clear of Alliance Ford racer Sam Osborne and 38 ahead of Doble.

BTCC Brands Hatch - Race 1 report

 
 
       
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Car Laps Time Interval km/h Retirement Points
1 United Kingdom A. Sutton NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 18 29'41.888       23
2 United Kingdom T. Ingram BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8   Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 18 +0.603 0.603     17
3
B. Thompson Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown
  Cupra León 18 +2.236 1.633     15
4 United Kingdom C. Turkington Team BMW   BMW 330e M Sport 18 +2.933 0.697     13
5 United Kingdom D. Cammish NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 18 +4.569 1.636     11
6 United Kingdom J. Hill Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport   BMW 330e M Sport 18 +4.839 0.270     10
7 United Kingdom D. Rowbottom NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 18 +6.428 1.589     9
8 United Kingdom S. Jelley Team BMW   BMW 330e M Sport 18 +6.617 0.189     8
9 United Kingdom R. Collard Toyota Gazoo Racing UK   Toyota Corolla GR Sport 18 +6.783 0.166     7
10 United Kingdom A. Morgan Team BMW   BMW 330e M Sport 18 +7.263 0.480     6
11 Ireland A. Taylor-Smith CarStore Power Maxed Racing   Vauxhall Astra 18 +8.350 1.087     5
12 United Kingdom J. Cook One Motorsport with Starline Racing   Honda Civic Type R 18 +8.537 0.187     4
13 United Kingdom T. Chilton BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8   Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 18 +8.550 0.013     3
14 United Kingdom A. Watson CarStore Power Maxed Racing   Vauxhall Astra 18 +9.118 0.568     2
15 United Kingdom D. Lloyd Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils   Cupra León 18 +9.760 0.642     1
16
G. Gamble Toyota Gazoo Racing UK
  Toyota Corolla GR Sport 18 +10.657 0.897      
17
D. Patterson Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
  Cupra León 18 +11.059 0.402      
18 United Kingdom S. Osborne NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 18 +11.207 0.148      
19
J. Edwards Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
  Cupra León 18 +12.681 1.474      
20
R. Pearson BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
  Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 18 +13.493 0.812      
21
D. De Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
  Cupra León 18 +15.467 1.974      
22
N. Halstead BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
  Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 18 +16.939 1.472      
23 United Kingdom R. Butcher Toyota Gazoo Racing UK   Toyota Corolla GR Sport 17 +1 Lap 1 Lap      
24
M. Crees Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils
  Cupra León 17 +1 Lap 11.928      
dnf United Kingdom A. Moffat One Motorsport with Starline Racing   Honda Civic Type R 14 +4 Laps 3 Laps   Retirement  
dnf
M. Doble CarStore Power Maxed Racing
  Vauxhall Astra 11 +7 Laps 3 Laps   Retirement  
dnf
J. Gornall Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown
  Cupra León 0       Retirement  

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article BTCC Brands Hatch: Supreme Sutton bags pole for finale
Next article BTCC Brands Hatch: Sutton wins again from Ingram

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe