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Brands Hatch set for tense BTCC title decider

Monday, September 18 2017

The 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) battle will go right down to the wire on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit on 30 September and 1 October with Ashley Sutton and Colin Turkington fighting for the most prestigious prize in UK car racing.

Subaru's Sutton leads BMW's Turkington by just 10 points ahead of the championship's autumnal return to Kent. Behind the leading duo, reigning champion Gordon Shedden and increasingly impressive challenger Tom Ingram both retain a slim mathematical chance of being crowned champion.

Sutton is aiming for a first BTCC title in just his second season of competition in top-level tin tops. He will need to set aside his Brands Hatch demons from earlier in the season if he's to do that though, after leaving the Indy circuit season opener with no points to his name. Since then, Sutton has been the championship's standout performer, claiming six wins in his manufacturer backed Subaru Levorg and climb to the top of the table.

Turkington, meanwhile, is on a quest for a third title which would place him alongside Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden in the history books, just one title behind four-time champion Andy Rouse. The Northern Irishman has been one of the championship's most reliable performers in recent years, and won two races at the same meeting last year whilst sitting in the seat now occupied by Sutton.

Both Sutton and Turkington endured mixed fortunes at Silverstone last weekend, blending consistent points scoring with a spot of bad luck to leave Northamptonshire relatively close to one another in the standings. Shedden endured a miserable day to leave his title topes hanging by a thread, whilst Ingram maintained his slim hopes with a race-winning display.

It will now require something of a miracle for either Shedden or Ingram to win the championship, with both needing to achieve near perfect results, whilst hoping Sutton and Turkington fail to score points. Whilst a Sutton versus Turkington showdown is the likely outcome, you can expect Shedden and Ingram to give their all and at the very least interfere in the fight at the front.

Aside from the main title contenders, there are plenty of others who will be keen to prove a point and end the season on a high note. These include Turkington's team-mate Rob Collard, whose title hopes were ended by a freak accident at Silverstone, and third BMW driver Andrew Jordan.

Jason Plato will be eager to taste victory champagne this weekend after what has been a disappointing season for the championship's record race winner. The BTCC legend has only won once this year, but his record at Brands Hatch is exceptional and he can't be ruled out of the fight for podiums.

Speaking after a drive from the back of the field in the final race of the weekend at Silverstone, Sutton said: "I'm over the moon with that - I didn't expect it. We were on the back foot to start with and we've bounced back from it. BTCC is the pinnacle of British motorsport. For me, it's time to reset and sit down with the team - Carl [Faux] and Jason [Plato]. Jason's been here before and I need to pick out what I can ahead of Brands."
Colin Turkington said: "I'm obviously on the back foot. From race one I've got to start reducing the deficit. It's a positive it's only ten points now, I've taken two from the gap having finished just two of the races [at Silverstone] really. I have nothing to protect heading to Brands, it's clear in my head I've got to outscore Ash [Sutton] at every opportunity - it's very straightforward for me from that point of view."

Tickets for the British Touring Car Championship finale at Brands Hatch on 30 September and 1 October are available online in advance from £27 with FREE entry for under-13s. For more information, please call 0843 453 9000 or click here