Ash Sutton “worn out with emotion” after securing title
Ash Sutton admitted he felt “worn out with emotion” after successfully wrapping up the 2017 BTCC title on Finals Day at Brands Hatch.
The Team BMR driver went into the season finale with a ten point lead over Colin Turkington in the standings, and extended his advantage in the opening race of the weekend having outqualified the BMW man on the grid.
Race two however would see things swing back towards Turkington as he romped through from 15th on the grid to win, with twelfth for Sutton meaning the pair were split by just six points going into the 30th and final race of the campaign.
With Turkington starting ahead, Sutton was aware of the need to stay close to his rival, with the pair running close together going into the second lap.
However, Turkington then got caught up in an incident with Mat Jackson on the exit of Graham Hill Bend that damaged the suspension on his car and put him into retirement.
It meant Sutton was crowned champion mid-way through the race; celebrating by bringing his car home in third place for a 15th podium of the campaign.
“I’m worn out with the emotions of it,” he said. “The past two meetings have been really up and down and it hasn’t sunk in that we’ve done it. The team has been fantastic all season and its nice to let all the emotion out with no more pressure.
“In the opening race today it was good to gain points but the tables then turned in race two and with the lead down to six points, it was time to get real. I knew I just had to get it done and my eyes were set on Colin.
“We went into Graham Hill Bend in the same place and on the exit, I could see there was some contact to my right but I was focused on trying to make sure I got ahead and didn’t see who it was. Half a lap later, I got the call that I could relax and I had to double check with the team as I didn’t believe them at first. When they said Colin was out of the car, I knew it was true.”
Sutton’s success capped a stunning comeback from a failure to even register a point in the opening rounds of the year back in April, with the 23-year-old – who becomes one of the youngest champions in series history – admitting that he had doubted whether a title bid was even possible.
“I knew it would be tough and to be honest, we wondered if was going to be possible,” he said. “It was only really from Oulton Park that we got our arses in gear and from then on, we’ve been on the podium or around the top five right the way through to Silverstone.
“The team really picked me up from that low at the start of the season and we got our heads together, and that is what has got us here.”