Colin Turkington is the 2014 BTCC Champion

Turkington initially leads race one but for once he didn't win any races (photo by Marc Waller)Colin Turkington is the 2014 BTCC drivers champion after a dramatic day of races at Brands Hatch.

The Ebay Motors driver always looked set to win the title at the Kent Circuit as he came into the weekend with a large points lead which meant rival Jason Plato would have had to win all three races with Turkington scoring little or no points.

Plato had started the weekend in the best possible way with pole and his chances were boosted with Turkington back in fourth.

Plato didn’t get a great start as race one got underway and team mate Sam Tordoff got a better one and passed his team mate. But Turkington was already passing both of them around the outside. However there was chaos behind.

Airwaves’ Fabrizio Giovanardi collided with Gordon Shedden’s Honda, sending the Civic Tourer sliding across the track. The pack tried to avoid him but Rob Austin came across him completely unsighted and with no time to react he slammed into the back of the Civic. Several other cars collided with each other trying to avoid the mess. Jack Goff briefly became Airbourne after bouncing off the side of Dave Newsham’s AMD Ford Focus.

Close racing all day (photo by Marc Waller)Morgan looked like he'd win on the track but he ended up winning after all (photo by Marc Waller)Plato celebrates the race one win (photo by Marc Waller)The other works Honda of Matt Neal also joined the pile up and came off worst, having to be airlifted to hospital for precautionary checks and an xray on his ribs. He would play no further part in the day. Giovanardi was later given an official reprimand and two points on his licence after he was judged to have caused the incident.

In front of the Chaos, Plato had now got head of Tordoff with Turkington slotting into third place. There was a further incident when Warren Scott made heavy contact with the barrier and a safety car was scrambled to enable the recovery of the badly damaged Volkswagen. The rest of the race was less eventful and Plato lead Tordoff home for an MG one-two. But Colin Turkington’s third place along with a point for fastest lap was enough to seal the title for the Ebay Motors driver.

“I am over the moon,” said Turkington. “I wanted this more than ever and I was prepared to do whatever it took to win the title.

“I suppose the main feeling is relief. We were ready to do battle until race three so I really wasn’t expecting to clinch the title so early in the day. I actually thought I was a point short when I crossed the line so I didn’t want to celebrate until I was absolutely sure.

“To be able to celebrate with the team and my family is a really proud moment. Lewis [Colin’s son] wasn’t old enough to remember the first one and part of the reason to get back into the BTCC was to do it for him, so I’m delighted.”

With Ebay Motors and Turkington securing the drivers, independent drivers and independent teams championship, attention now fell on the manufacturers championship. This was between MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save and Honda Yuasa Racing. After MG’s one –two in race one and Honda’s non score, things were looking like going in Mg’s direction. Turkington made the best start to lead Plato on lap one with Mat Jackson fighting through past Tordoff. Then came the days most controversial incident when Plato made a lunge for the lead into paddock hill bend. Going partly across the grass he speared into Turkington’s BMW sending it spinning into the gravel.

The incident allowed Mat Jackson through into the lead only for him to lose it again in an unfortunate spin at Hawthorns which was all his own doing. Plato was slowed by the incident and Rob Collard charged into the lead.

Adam Morgan was having a great race in his Wix Racing Mercedes and he too took the opportunity to pass Plato to go second. Collard in front now found himself in trouble as the soft tyres he was running started to lose their performance. Morgan passed him into paddock hill bend and not long after Plato was also through. It looked like Morgan was heading for his first win but ran wide to let Plato through to take his second win of the day, Morgan held onto second with Tordoff in third.

Plato celebrates the race two win but he wouldn't keep it (photo by Marc Waller)Turkington realises he's champion (photo by Marc Waller)Turkington takes the championship (photo by Marc Waller)However Plato was under investigation for his move on Turkington and was later penalised, twice after Ebay Motors appealed that the first penalty. He was initially given a ten-place grid penalty and three points on his racing licence for the incident. The stewards then upheld the appeal and Plato was given a 20-second time penalty on his race result. Plus as this was his third reprimand of the season he had to start the third race of the day from the back of the grid

This gave the win to Morgan, from Tordoff with Collard in third. Morgan was pleased to get the win despite not being able to celebrate on the podium.

“It’s brilliant,” beamed Morgan. “We’ve been praying for a podium for so long, so to get a win at the last event of the year is just fantastic.”

For the third race, Jack Clarke had the reverse grid pole but was beaten off the line by Nick Foster. He then found his way back past into the lead but couldn’t withstand the pace of a determined Gordon Shedden. Once though Shedden was off into a big lead and apart from the lead gap being reduced when a safety car was scrambled, he never looked in doubt for the win. Clarke left it until the final race of the year to produce his best result, an impressive second place after holding off Mat Jackson’s Ford Focus for much of the rest of the race.

Dave Newsham won the final championship battle of the day as he secured the Jack Sears Trophy awarded this year to the driver who makes up the most places during the course of a season. Going into the weekend, it had been between Newsham, Menu and Hunter Abbott but with the latter two having nightmare weekends, Newsham won the trophy.

The podium was moved onto the track as the new champion, Colin Turkington was awarded his trophy in torrential rain.

It’s been a record breaking 2014 BTCC season with the most cars ever entered, 31 with the new licence system meaning most of them completed every round. There have been 11 different winners, with Adam Morgan the most recent, this too is a record for the BTCC.

We now go into the winter break before the BTCC bursts back into life at the 2015 launch day in March. The BTCC has been getting bigger and better every season, it will be interesting to see what surprises are revealed over the winter and who will make up the 2015 grid. Teams will already be preparing and making plans. The BTCC never rests!

Full results are available from TSL
Race one
Race two
Race three
And the final points table    By Marc Waller

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