Ashley Sutton and Colin Turkington will go head-to-head this weekend (30 September/ 1 October) to take home the biggest prize in British motorsport, the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title.
Following a season of high-octane thrills and entertainment, the pair arrive at the Brands Hatch decider separated by a mere ten points, with a total of 67 up for grabs.
Chasing his maiden BTCC drivers’ crown in only his second season, Team BMR’s Sutton has been a force to be reckoned with this year, leading the line for Subaru.
Despite enduring a tough opening event of the season, the 23-year-old has gone from strength-to-strength, scoring six wins and a further seven podium finishes to position himself in the box seat for championship glory.
“I can’t wait to get going,” Sutton said. “I’ll try to approach the weekend the same as any other but it does feel quite different. In the Renault UK Clio Cup I was the hunter, here I’m being hunted.
“Up until this point I haven’t really been in that championship mindset, it has all been about scoring big results and collecting the points. Now that we are leading going into the final round it is important to take stock and reset.
“Qualifying is going to be crucial. We need to be near the front and around Colin to give us the best chance of outscoring him in races one and two. At the moment I’m calm but I’m sure that will change on race day. I know what I need to do and I’m confident that the team will give me the best chance of fulfilling what we all want to achieve.”
With two titles to his name already with West Surrey Racing, Turkington will look to add his name to an exclusive list of drivers to win three titles in the BTCC.
Like Sutton, the Northern Irishman’s season didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts but since then has been clinical and consistent
Wins at Donington Park, Thruxton and Croft along with nine further rostrum finishes have propelled the double champion to second in the standings and with it all to play for around a circuit at which he won twice at last year.
“My mission at Brands Hatch is clear – I need to outscore Ashley at every opportunity,” he said. “The positive from Silverstone was that we took two points out of his lead, at least he didn’t extend it at all.
“I’m obviously on the back foot but it doesn’t really get any more straightforward from my point view. It is all about reducing the deficit from race one and taking it one race at a time. I can only control what I do though at the end of the day.
“We will go there as best prepared as we can, both myself and the team, and give it our best shot.”