Sutton won both the season’s final two rounds on Brands Hatch’s legendary Grand Prix circuit to overcome Team Pyro team-mate Ash Hand who had led the standings going into the event.
Maximum Motorsport’s Ant Whorton-Eales and WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett both saw their hopes end when they retired in the first of the two races (held on the Saturday).
That race was led all the way by Sutton while second place for Hand was good enough to keep him in command in the points table going into Sunday’s grand finale.
In addition to being played out live on ITV4, Sutton’s and Hand’s gripping duel took place in front of a bumper Brands Hatch crowd as part of the British Touring Car Championship’s Finals Day event. Notably both drivers have significant touring car connections – Sutton is backed by the BMR Restart BTCC team and Hand is a protégé of triple World Touring Car title-winner Andy Priaulx.
Ultimately Hand needed just a top-three finish to be sure of the crown and with 13 podium results in the previous 17 races he was surely the favourite. But it didn’t quite turn out like that….
Third in the opening laps, Hand then struggled for pace and, agonisingly, he tumbled to an eventual seventh. Up front Sutton still needed to win to stand any chance and sensational newcomer Paul Streather made life extra difficult for him by getting in front three times in his Finesse Motorsport-run car.
Sutton, though, was not to be denied as he fought back ahead to take the win and the title as the top four cars – Sutton, Streather, Dan Holland (WDE Motorsport) and Luke Kidsley (JamSport) – flashed across the line covered by less than a second in the sort of nail-biting grandstand finish that has typified the UK Clio Cup action this year.
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Sutton said: “What a way to win such a prestigious title as the Renault UK Clio Cup. The battle with Streather was fantastic – I’m sure it looked very exciting on ITV! And I also had to try and keep an eye on where Ash was. I knew if I won and he was outside the top four then it was mine but not until we crossed the line and I saw the other three behind me and saw that he wasn’t there did I start to celebrate in the car.
“It’s just the most fantastic championship – you can see why so many drivers to have come from the UK Clio Cup have gone on to great things – and right now I would love to come back and defend my title in 2016 and see if I can improve my results from this season.”