Ash Sutton has been crowned champion in the British Touring Car Championship after a pulsating final three races of the season at Brands Hatch.
"I'm lost for words," said Sutton after climbing from his car. "It's been a great team effort and I can't thank the team enough for this. It's a dream come true.
“Nothing can top this, nothing at all. I feel sick inside because of the buzz! I’ve always been one to set targets throughout my career so far. Every championship I’ve been a part of, I’ve achieved my target. I did it last year with the Jack Sears Trophy and now to do what we wanted to do this year, it’s an unreal feeling and it’ll take a long time to sink in."
The Subaru Levorg racer arrived at the track as a narrow championship favourite, but was made to fight into the final race after main title rival Colin Turkington (BMW 125i M Sport) scored a sensational victory from 15th place on the grid in the penultimate race of the year.
Ahead of the third race of the weekend - and final one of the season - Sutton was ahead by just six championship points. Adding further drama, he started the race in 14th - two places behind Turkington.
Briefly, it looked like Turkington would mirror his race-two charge, ending the first lap in fifth, albeit trailed by Sutton - but that dream came undone just a few corners later after a clash with Mat Jackson (Ford Focus). Turkington’s rear suspension was broken - and his championship charge over.
That left Sutton fourth and - technical or driving infringement aside - as champion. Even so, he drove circumspectly, overtaking the Volkswagen CC of Mike Epps at mid-distance and then settling for third.