BUTCHER WINS RACE AS SUTTON TAKES TITLE
Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton is a two-time Kwik Fit British Touring Car Champion after clinching the title in the final race of a dramatic season at Brands Hatch.
Motorbase Performance’s Rory Butcher won the contest with Toyota’s Tom Ingram and MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square’s Jake Hill completing the podium, but the title race was understandably the headline story as Sutton got the better of his Team BMW rival Colin Turkington.
Turkington made steady progress early on but the BMW 3 Series has seemingly struggled in the wet conditions for much of the day, and Sutton was soon on his tail in a fight for sixth. Sutton sat comfortably behind the reigning champ but Turkington couldn’t keep the Infiniti Q50 at bay, and the #116 slipped through at Paddock Hill Bend in the closing stages.
Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish was fourth in the race – consolidating his third position in the overall standings – whilst Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools’ Adam Morgan grabbed a hard-earned fifth.
Sutton took sixth – and with it the title – after a late move by his good friend Josh Cook in the BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R.
Laser Tools Racing enjoyed a double celebration with Aiden Moffat claiming eighth, as the team also wrapped up Independents’ glory.
Turkington could only manage ninth as his title defence ended on a rather soggy note around the undulating 1.2-mile Indy circuit, whilst Motorbase man Ollie Jackson rounded out the top ten.
Ash Sutton, BTCC Champion, said: “It’s an absolute dream to get this, for an Independent team to win the overall championship. It’s been a long time since that’s happened, so for Laser Tools Racing, BMR Engineering and everyone involved, RCIB, Cinch and all my personal sponsors, it wouldn’t be possible without any of them. It’s just a real shame that we can’t experience it with the crowds and fans. Obviously all year we’ve put on a good show and it’s been absolutely mega this year to even get racing, but without your support at home it wouldn’t be possible.
“Coming into the weekend, we saw it was going to be mixed conditions both days. Obviously yesterday in qualifying it was wet and we just missed out on that pole, but we were in a perfect position today and despite it drying out in race two, the car came alive and I was a bit shocked myself. The boys and girls back at base, those here this weekend and all my family, they’ve delivered me the perfect year and without them this also would not be possible.
“I spoke to Louise [Goodman] before and she said ‘you must think you have one hand on the trophy’ and when you’re coming into the final race nine points ahead yes you do to some extent, but obviously touring cars can change so quickly and that race fell into our favour with the rain. We sat behind Colin and I wasn’t willing to make a move until he made a mistake or left the door open which he did and I made the most of it and from that point onwards we just drove off into the distance.
“I learnt the hard way at Croft, race two bit me hard when I ran into Jake but I’ve calmed. I’m a new man in some respects and we’re just going to sometimes have to bite the bullet and say we’re not on a winning weekend but for sure this weekend the inner racer came out and we were there. We still managed the results when we needed to but I took the gaps when I saw them.
“I’d like to think that we won the championship in that last race with the inner racer showing, rather than the conservative. I still wanted to give the guys at home a good show and we did that to come away with the championship.”
Rory Butcher, race three winner, said: “Fantastic! We really needed that to go into the winter. It’s been a tough few rounds but we’ve made (Team Boss) David Bartrum very happy.
“We’ve had such a great year with a brand new car. The Ford Focus ST came out of the blocks really fast and it’s been great all year. We’ve had some bad luck, I’ve made some mistakes and it’s been a learning experience. In the middle of the season, two or three rounds in a row we didn’t get everything out of it that we wanted to. We’re finishing fifth in the championship and we’ve had numerous podiums, pole positions and wins, but we need to get more consistent next year if we want to challenge someone like Ash.
“I was really comfortable out there and the car was so much better than it had been in race one so I was feeling good. It was only in the last few laps that I saw Tom’s lights start appearing in my mirrors and I thought ‘here we go’ but I kept it together, pushed a little harder to keep the gap and brought it home.
“It’s our first year and it’s been a fantastic new car. Our goal for next year is to come back fighting and put in an even stronger fight, with everything we’ve learned about the championship and the car itself, so we’ll be back!”
More to follow…
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 3 – Brands Hatch Indy
1 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Motorbase Performance 24 laps
2 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters +1.522s
3 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +7.679s
4 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +9.984s
5 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools +10.521s
6 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +12.038s
7 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +14.094s
8 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +16.133s
9 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +17.320s
10 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +18.431s
11 Tom CHILTON (GBR) BTC Racing +18.764s
12 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +19.008s
13 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +19.217s
14 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +20.935s
15 Michael CREES (GBR) The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing +31.358s
16 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +35.780s
17 Paul RIVETT (GBR) GKR TradePriceCars.com +36.679s
18 Glynn GEDDIE (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +38.623s
19 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +39.743s
20 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with Team HARD +45.302s
21 Jack BUTEL (GBR) Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools +46.119s
22 Brad PHILPOT (GBR) Power Maxed Car Care Racing +47.175s
23 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) HUB Financial Solutions with Team HARD +54.671s
24 Ethan HAMMERTON (GBR) GKR TradePriceCars.com +3 laps
25 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +12 laps
26 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +21 laps
27 Andy NEATE (GBR) Motorbase Performance +21 laps