Its Turkingtons third title as the BTCC reaches it's finale at Brands Hatch

tThe pack head up the hill at the start of race one (Photo by Marc Waller)Colin Turkington became a three times British Touring car champion at Brands Hatch last weekend as the sixtieth anniversary season of Britains most popular motorsport series had it’s finale.


Turkington was always the favourite going into the weekend with a thirty four point advantage over nearest rival Tom Ingram with Tom Chilton having a tiny outside chance from third.

None of the contenders had a particularly successful time in qualifying or the first race but it was Turkington who did the best, edging out a further two points meaning he could claim the title in the days second race. Dan Cammish won the opener although there was some controversy over his starting position on the grid and so the start itself as he was initially disqualified and then reinstated on appeal. He won in front of his team mate and Wix Racing’s Brett Smith, taking his first ever overall podium.

Ingram would have to score at least third in race two to keep any chance of being champion alive. Starting fourteenth, it seemed unlikely he would have any chance but as usual Ingram did everything he could. Making pass after pass throughout the race, he found himself in fourth in the last few laps. Turkington meanwhile, had run wide at paddock and out of the points. Ingram just needed to make one more pass for third to take the title to the final round. Unfortunately for Ingram, in third place was Jordan, Turkington’s team mate. Jordan would have been a tough opponent to battle normally but not he was also helping his team mate and Jordan drove as defensively as possible leaving Ingram with nowhere to go to get past.

Ingram finished fourth and so Turkington was champion despite finishing in twenty fourth. In fact he only won a single race all season but his consistent point scoring gave him the title when other drivers were more erratic scorers. He spoke after the race

“The emotions are just so raw. I was driving around there preparing for a dogfight in race three thinking ‘how on earth I was going to get forward’. I wasn’t expecting the news on the radio that I’d won the championship. I’m so pleased for so many people. The first one, I really wanted it for me. It was my goal in 2009 and I wanted it more than anything.

“With BMW’s support coming on-board last year, it’s so special to win it for them. It’s an amazing achievement and for West Surrey Racing, too – they never give up. We’re always the last in the pits on Saturday evening – we just work, work, work. That’s the secret. We never had the fastest car this year; we just kept at it, scoring points. I’m so pleased for my family. We knew coming into the season that you’ve just got to score points. It’s very difficult to do as you can see from that race. I’ve had one win but ten podiums and they are as good as wins in this championship.

“This is the one that I wanted for my Mum [who sadly passed away during the season], for Tipper [West Surrey Racing truck driver who sadly passed away at the start of the year] and for Steve. There’s so many people that I wanted it for, I’m so pleased for them and for my mum.”

Tom Ingram was clearly disappointed not to take the title but he successfully defended his independent drivers title and helped Speedworks to the independent team’s title.

“I gave it everything I had. The boys worked so hard for that race as they have done all season. We had to give it everything but well done to Colin (Turkington), he’s done the job again. He’s ever the professional.

He scores the points and knows what he needs to do. I’d have loved to have beaten him – maybe next year. For everyone at home that have shown us so much support this year, I can’t thank them enough.

“We’ve had a stellar year and it’s fantastic to have won both Independents’ titles again. I’m going to have a little moment to myself but we know what we can work on and we’ll come back even stronger next year.

We’ve not started yet!”

The weekend turned out to be Eurotechs last in the btcc although they ended on a positive with pole for Brett smith and a podium (Photo by Marc Waller) The Hondas lead the way at the start of race two (Photo by Marc Waller) Rob Austin briefly held the race three lead but it ended up an epic battle between sutton and cook (Photo by Marc Waller) 

 

 

 

Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher’s Tom Chilton ended up in third in the championship as well as finishing runner up to Ingram in the Independents championship.

“It’s been a fantastic year.” He said “Considering that we got off to a slow start, all the stars aligned. The team have been amazing; I just had to keeping kicking the gears and scoring points. I’m a bit frustrated that I didn’t manage to win the Independents’ championship, that’s the only downer from the season. But if I’m honest, third overall is epic.

I’m feeling very happy here at Motorbase and in the car. I love my team-mates to pieces, I owe James and Sam one and if they ever need me when it comes down to the wire like it did today, I will be there for them both, 110%.”

Ingram congratulates Turkington (Photo by Marc Waller) There was lots of emotion in parc ferme after race two (Photo by Marc Waller) The championship podium was on track in front of the crowds (Photo by Marc Waller) Turkington celebrates the title with his wife and one of his sons  (Photo by Marc Waller) Ingram celebrates defending his independents title (Photo by Marc Waller) Turkington with his two bosses (Photo by Marc Waller)

 

 

 

Cammish took the race win again in race two, once again ahead of team mate Matt Neal;

He spoke after the race;

“What a great day, I’m really proud of the guys and the team. The fact Matt (Neal) was second shows how much potential we’ve had. To get my first win is just great – what a fantastic moment. There’s not a better place than Brands Hatch to do it, and in the sun too.

“The plan was to formation fly around the end of the race and I knew Matt would be a good wingman – it was good to have that. Matt’s a great team-mate, not only on the track but off it as well. He’s open with data and doesn’t keep anything from me. I think if I’m faster, he’s encouraged by that. Hopefully I dragged him around a little bit there too!”

The final race of the day proved to be one of the best of the season despite the title already being decided with Ash Sutton fighting his way to the front to then have an epic battle with friend and rival Josh Cook. Sutton’s Subaru Levorg crossed the line just 0.032 seconds ahead of Cook’s Vauxhall Astra, the closest finish of the 2018 season.

The two had exchanged the lead several times during the battle which enthralled the large crowd gathered around the Kent circuit. Behind them Rob Austin took third, his second of the the season for his Duo Motorsport with HMS Racing Alfa Romeo Gulietta. Ash Sutton spoke after taking the final win of the 2018 season;

“I was happy to settle for second. That was the best race I’ve ever had and to do it with Josh (Cook) was mega. It was always the aim to go away with a win here. After race one, it was looking hard but we dug deep and I had to hunt Josh down.

“For the last god knows how many laps, I was just laughing to myself in the car. Luck wasn’t on our side this year and we had a slow start. We’ll come back stronger next year.”

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will return once more in 2019 with the season starting on the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in April but with the order of some other events shuffling round. The championship once again consists of 30 races across ten events, with the Brands Hatch GP circuit again playing host to the season finale. A second visit to Thruxton replaces Rockingham with the Northamptonshire circuit sadly closing at the end of this season.

There was some more sad news the day after the season finished as Eurotech Racing announced they would be leaving the BTCC and closing their doors after many successful season’s including Andrew Jordan’s championship vistory in 2013. Team owner Jeff Smith blamed a funding shortfall for the closure which sees his son Brett and Jack Goff having to try and find new drives for the 2019 season. It’s a big blow for Goff who had been a title contender for much of the season and appeared to have found his ideal team in Eurotech scoring several poles, podiums and wins over the season. There will be many changes in 2019 but it seems likely that it will once again be a closely fought and exciting battle which will keep it as Britain’s most popular domestic championship once again.

Full results from this weekend and the entire 2018 season are available on the Tsl timing website .


Penalties from the weekend

Weekend

Halfords Yuasa Racing has had 10 points deducted from its Teams' and Manufacturers' Championship scores having changed an engine above the number permitted

Adrian Flux Subaru Racing has had 10 points deducted from its Teams' and Manufacturers' Championship scores having changed an engine above the number permitted

BTC Norlin Racing has had 10 points deducted from its Teams' and Independent Teams' Championship scores having changed an engine above the number permitted

AmD with Cobra Exhausts has had 10 points deducted from its Teams' and Independent Teams' Championship scores having changed an engine above the number permitted

Simpson Racing has had 10 points deducted from its Teams' and Independent Teams' Championship scores having changed an engine above the number permitted

WIX Racing with Eurotech has had 10 points deducted from its Teams' and Independent Teams' Championship scores having changed an engine above the number permitted

Race 1

Dan Cammish (#27 Halfords Yuasa Racing) was handed a 30-second time penalty having been adjudged to have committed a false start in Round 28 of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch. However, stewards upheld Halfords Yuasa Racing's appeal and therefore, the result of Round 28 remained unchanged. By Marc Waller

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