Ingram clinches title in thrilling BTCC finale
October 11, 2022

Tom Ingram won his first BTCC championship after a pulsating day of action at Brands Hatch as the British driver took two victories at the circuit's GP layout on his way to the title. Dan Lloyd stopped Ingram's almost flawless weekend and won the third race, making zero mistakes under immense pressure from Josh Cook.

Ash Sutton’s championship hopes faded throughout the day as he failed to score a podium finish. However, despite his lack of silverware at the Kent track, the NAPA Racing UK driver still claimed second in the standings ahead of the two BMWs of Jake Hill and Colin Turkington.

Ingram clinches title in thrilling BTCC finale

Ingram's perfect start from pole position saw him lead into Paddock Hill in Race 1 ahead of Rory Butcher, with the championship leader Ash Sutton in third place. The Safety Car was deployed on Lap 2 after Árón Taylor-Smith retired from a collision with Ash Hand. The race restarted on Lap 6 with three laps added, making an 18-lap event. Again, Ingram pulled away from Butcher as two of his championship contenders, Hill and Turkington, sat outside the podium in P4 and P8. Another Safety Car period came eight laps into the race as Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero's Carl Boardley retired in the gravel at Hawthorns. At the Lap 11 restart, Ingram continued to lead as Hill battled Bobby Thompson for fifth place. Championship contender Hill found himself behind fellow title rival Sutton with the pair set to lose points to Ingram’s Hyundai i30.

With three laps remaining, Hill dispatched Adam Morgan in fourth and critically passed Sutton’s Ford Focus ST for P3 to gain more points in the championship battle. Ingram, however, remained unchallenged at the front taking his fifth win of the season.

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Ingram clinches title in thrilling BTCC finale

After a perfect performance in Race 1, Ingram produced a carbon copy start in the second race, fending off Butcher’s Toyota Corolla GR Sport at the front. Turkington and Hill, who still had chances to clinch the championship, sat in P3 and P5 as their rear-wheel drive BMWs struggled for tyre temperature in the opening stages. The 29-year-old Ingram continued to lead as Turkington applied pressure on Sutton’s Ford Focus ST for P4. The Northern Irishman tried everything to overtake and finally swept past the NAPA Racing UK driver halfway through the 15-lap event. Hill also passed Butcher for second place on Lap 8 and began attacking the championship leader Ingram for the race lead. Turkington continued his charge through the field, and he overtook Butcher for third place in a bid to keep his slight championship chances alive. His hopes were fading, though, as Ingram kept his cool under pressure from Hill. Ingram intelligently saved his final hybrid lap until the last lap and brought his front-wheel drive Hyundai to its second victory of the day.

Lloyd started the third and final race on pole position in his Hyundai i30 and kept the lead into Paddock Hill. Far behind him, the two main title protagonists, Ingram and Hill, fought for ninth and tenth. However, a Safety Car deployment on Lap 3 due to Rick Parfitt getting stranded in the gravel neutralised Lloyd’s early race lead.

Ingram clinches title in thrilling BTCC finale

The race restarted five laps into the race, with two laps added, making it a 17-lap finale. Ingram climbed all over the rear wing of Sutton’s teammate Dan Cammish as the pair battled for P6. Hill also filled the Hyundai driver's mirrors, with most drivers saving their hybrid allocation. With eight laps to go, Butcher passed Sutton for third place, the perfect situation for Ingram as it meant his championship rival would drop points. The championship leader critically challenged Sutton for fourth place in the closing laps. Then, on the last lap, Ingram pulled off a bold move on Hill, who lost three positions, thus ending his title hopes.

Ingram delivered fifth place and a brilliant championship-winning campaign for Excelr8 Motorsport, while Lloyd enjoyed an excellent drive in the final race of the weekend, taking his third win of the season.

Ingram clinches title in thrilling BTCC finale