Portadown man Colin Turkington clinched the British Touring Car Championship after finishing in third place in yesterday’s opening race at Brands Hatch.
The Northern Irishman’s third spot gave him an unassailable 44-point lead ahead of Sunday’s two remaining races.
His nearest rival Jason Plato won Sunday’s opening race as Turkington, 32, drove a largely steady race to clinch his second British title.
Plato won race two after colliding with Turkington on the fourth of 16 laps.
The BMW driver ended up in the gravel, leaving Plato to reduce his deficit in the championship standings.
“I knew not to do anything rash,” said BMW driver Turkington after his series success was secured.
A maximum 44 points was available in yesterday’s two remaining races at Brands Hatch.
But even if Plato was to achieve that with Turkington failing to score in either race, the Northern Irishman was still to be guaranteed the title on count-back.
Turkington, who earned his previous British Touring Car title in 2009, struggled to contain his emotions after Sunday’s triumph.
“The emotions are just hard to describe,” Turkington said after he had finished behind Plato and Leeds driver Sam Tordoff – eighth in the overall standings – in Sunday’s opener.
“You try to be relaxed and confident and do the same things as always but underneath you know there is a lot of pressure.
“Over the last few laps, I just backed off Sam, and I might have cried even earlier in the lap if they (his team) had told me.”