Brands Hatch BTCC: Sutton closes out season with Race 3 win

Ash Sutton proved his British Touring Car Championship title-winning credentials in emphatic fashion with a commanding victory in the final race of the season at Brands Hatch.

Sutton was drawn fourth on the reversed grid, but a slow start from Rory Butcher aided the progress of the Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 into third position off the line, and then Sutton got a good exit from Westfield to pass Tom Chilton for second at Dingle Dell.

Out front was poleman Stephen Jelley, but Sutton immediately slashed the gap to the West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330i M Sport, with Dan Rowbottom in pursuit after passing Chilton.

Sutton got a good run through Clearways at the end of the third lap and, aided by a push from Rowbottom, was able to easily clear Jelley by the time he reached Paddock Hill Bend.

A forceful Rowbottom got his Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R around the outside of Jelley at Druids, and claimed second place on the inside line at Graham Hill Bend, as Jelley was flicked wide onto the grass.

By the end of that fourth lap, Sutton was one second in front, but Rowbottom trimmed the gap on the next lap before the safety car emerged thanks to Jack Mitchell crashing at Hawthorn.

Sutton aced the restart, and within three laps was over a second ahead of the Honda of Rowbottom. He extended the gap to 3.378s with a lap remaining before backing off to cross the line 1.369s in front.

"We were laughing – it's the first race I've done that hasn't mattered in my touring car career, and the pressure was off," said Sutton, whose previous two title wins came in the final race.

"Stephen was always going to be tough, but I got a sweet cutback out of the last corner and a push from Dan helped."

Rowbottom came under pressure in the late stages from a surging Tom Ingram, who had rocketed his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N up from 12th on the grid, but the calm Honda ace had enough in hand to keep his pursuer at arm's length.

Daniel Rowbottom, Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R

Daniel Rowbottom, Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Another charger was Jake Hill, who forced his way up from 10th on the grid to claim fourth in his Motorbase-run MB Motorsport Ford Focus, via contact at Surtees with Jelley when the Ford went up the inside but the BMW closed the door.

As Jelley wobbled off course to the back of the field, Hill got stuck into a ferocious scrap and sliced ahead of Josh Cook's BTC Racing Honda and Chilton's Ciceley Motorsport BMW in one move after Cook had gone up the inside of Chilton at Stirling's.

Hill set fastest lap, but was too far behind Ingram to catch the Hyundai and had to settle for fourth.

Cook completed an excellent weekend and finished fifth, completing a come-from-behind day to grab third place in the championship from under the noses of Ingram (who ended up fourth) and Hill (fifth).

Chilton finished sixth, while Gordon Shedden's Dynamics Honda just fended off the Team Hard Cupra of Jack Goff for seventh.

Butcher ended up ninth in his Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota Corolla after first-lap contact at Graham Hill Bend with championship runner-up Colin Turkington.

That sent the Northern Irishman off track, and a nasty rut ripped out the right-rear suspension, putting him out of the race.

Jason Plato completed the top 10 in his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra.

BTCC Brands Hatch II Race 3 results - 18 laps

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Ashley Sutton   30'22.671  
2 United Kingdom Daniel Rowbottom   30'24.040 1.369
3 United Kingdom Tom Ingram   30'24.173 1.502
4 United Kingdom Jake Hill   30'25.945 3.274
5 United Kingdom Josh Cook   30'30.672 8.001
6 United Kingdom Tom Chilton   30'31.631 8.960
7 United Kingdom Gordon Shedden   30'32.353 9.682
8 United Kingdom Jack Goff   30'32.714 10.043
9 United Kingdom Rory Butcher   30'34.663 11.992
10 United Kingdom Jason Plato   30'35.673 13.002
11 United Kingdom Ollie Jackson   30'37.477 14.806
12 United Kingdom Chris Smiley   30'38.016 15.345
13 United Kingdom Daniel Lloyd   30'38.633 15.962
14 Ireland Aron Taylor-Smith   30'39.885 17.214
15 United Kingdom Tom Oliphant   30'40.132 17.461
16 United Kingdom Adam Morgan   30'40.368 17.697
17 Sam Osborne   30'41.847 19.176
18 United Kingdom Aiden Moffat   30'42.068 19.397
19 United Kingdom Senna Proctor   30'43.216 20.545
20 Jade Edwards   30'43.814 21.143
21 United Kingdom Sam Smelt   30'44.133 21.462
22 Andy Neate   30'54.636 31.965
23 Nicolas Hamilton   30'55.174 32.503
24 United Kingdom Stephen Jelley   31'04.798 42.127
25 Andy Wilmot   1 lap  
26 United Kingdom Jack Mitchell Jr.   14 laps  
27 United Kingdom Colin Turkington   17 laps  
28 United Kingdom Carl Boardley   18 laps  
29 Rick Parfitt Jr.   18 laps  
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Brands Hatch BTCC: Sutton crowned champion as Cook wins again
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