BTCC: BRANDS HATCH. Nothing in this world is certain – except death, taxes … and a thrilling and unpredictable climax to the BTCC season at Brands Hatch. Overnight rain resulted in a greasy track and a difficult decision for race one: start on wets or rely on the track drying out and opt for slicks? The majority of drivers chose the latter and it proved to be the right decision as the track soon developed a dry racing line. Race one proved to be kind to one “Cobra driver” chasing a title, but set the tone for a disappointing day for another driver in a Cobra seat who had hopes of picking up silverware: Tom Ingram claimed a hard fought second place to strengthen his grip on the Independent drivers crown, but Colin Turkington – in real contention for the Drivers championship, struggled throughout the race, losing two positions on the opening lap and dropped to 15th on the final lap after sliding wide at Graham Hill Bend.
That – and a corresponding start position of 15th on the grid for race two – meant it looked an almost impossible task for Turkington to keep the championship alive in the penultimate race of the season. However, anyone who has two BTCC drivers’ championships under their belt knows how to battle and Colin produced an incredible drive to win race two and keep his title hopes alive.
Turkington advanced from 15th to 12th on the first lap and, having spent the next lap catching the lead bunch, profited from a squabble between Rob Austin’s Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis and the Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R of Matt Neal to squeeze his BMW 125i M Sport into 11th by the end of lap three.
The Northern Irishman then made steady progress, virtually picking off a new car every lap to cross the line ahead of Gordon Shedden in second and Matt Neal in third – to make it an “all Cobra” podium, while Tom Ingram’s sixth place finish was enough to seal the Independents title with a race to spare.
Turkington’s fourth win of the season meant he went in to race three just six points off the championship lead. Unfortunately for Colin bad luck struck early in race three to scupper his hopes of the title when the lightest of contact to the rear of his BMW 1 series broke not only his rear suspension but his dreams of a third championship.
However, the final race of the season did provide a memorable highlight for another “Cobra driver” when, with the rain pouring down, Rob Austin drove a superb race to take the chequered flag and mark Handy Motorsport’s final race with the Toyota Avensis in style.
So, as the season draws to a close, Cobra Seats says congratulations to its long list of champions – BMW/WSR who are BTCC Manufacturers – Constructors Champions 2017, Team BMW and Halfords Yuasa Racing (first and second in the Teams standings in 2017), Tom Ingram (champion independent drivers 2017) and Speedworks Motorsport (top independent team 2017) who all chose Cobra Seats to give them a competitive edge. Equally well done to Colin Turkington (WSR), Tom Ingram (Speedworks), Gordon Shedden (Team Dynamics), Rob Collard (WSR) and Matt Neal (Team Dynamics) who finished second, third, fourth, fifth and seventh respectively in this year’s drivers’ championship (four out of the top five and five out of the top seven drivers using Cobra seats is pretty good!) … indeed, thanks to all of the BTCC drivers who have put their faith in Cobra Seats and who have provided such splendid entertainment in 2017.