Rory Butcher “buzzing” after first true BTCC victory
Rory Butcher said he was “absolutely buzzing” after securing a dramatic win in the final race of the weekend at Snetterton – marking the first time he had secured a BTCC victory on the road.
The Cobra Sport AmD driver had inherited his only other race win at Brands Hatch during the opening weekend of the season thanks to a penalty for Tom Chilton.
Having then missed out on a potential win at Oulton Park thanks to a trip off track whilst dicing for the lead in race three, it appeared unlikely that the Scot would be able to challenge for victory at Snetterton after a tough start to the weekend saw him qualify in eleventh.
Although there were points finishes in the opening two races, Butcher was unable to break into the top ten, but a combination of radical changes to the set-up of his Honda Civic Type R and the soft compound Dunlop tyre brought the car to life in race three.
A storming drive through the pack saw Butcher climb up into the top three where he found himself right in the thick of the heated battle between Jason Plato and Ash Sutton for the lead, passing both drivers with a fine move down the inside into Brundle.
As Plato and Sutton then clashed, Butcher found himself clear out front and duly secured a win that allowed him to move back up to third in the championship standings.
“I’m absolutely buzzing at the end of the weekend,” he said. “It was nice to get the win at Brands Hatch at the start of the season, but that was given to us because of a penalty for someone else, and to now win on the road means so much to me and the team.
“We had a tough time in qualifying and the opening two races didn’t quite go to plan for us. The engineers made some pretty radical changes to the car, and it really came alive in the final race. I had to take a few risks and make some hard moves, and when I got up towards Ash and Jason, I knew a podium was on.
“Mike [Bushell – engineer] was on the radio and told me to play it smart and when we were going down the back straight, I got a run on them both and had to go for the inside. It was a big risk to go three-wide, but it was a risk I had to take and we got the reward.
“It’s an incredible feeling to secure the win and to be able to stand on the top step of the podium. I’m grinning from ear-to-ear and this is the perfect way to kick off the second half of the season.”
With team-mate Sam Tordoff having earlier taken a podium in race one, and backing it up with two further top ten finishes, the Honda squad secured more points than any other team over the course of the Snetterton weekend to secure the teams’ trophy for the first time.
“To be honest, I didn’t even know that existed as we’ve never been in contention for it before!” team boss Shaun Hollamby admitted. “It’s been a great weekend for us. Sam has picked up some fantastic results and then Rory did a brilliant job to come through and win race three.
“There is always the potential to do something like that but it doesn’t matter if you have the better tyre or the quicker car if something doesn’t want you to get through – like we saw with Jason and Ash! But Rory did a great job, kept it clean and his move for the lead is one of the best that I’ve seen as he was really respectful of the others and showed there was need to crash and bash his way through.
“Sam also deserves a lot of credit, not just for his own results, but because he allowed Rory to come through when he knew he was in a quicker car in the final race. It’s great to have two drivers who are mature enough to work together like that for the good of the team.
“Having put some serious points on the board, this has been a great way to kick off the second half of the season.”