Rory Butcher takes home win in restarted Knockhill finale
Rory Butcher took his second win of the season in a dramatic BTCC finale at Knockhill that had to be restarted after a multi-car accident early on.
When the lights went out on the first start, Butcher made the best start to lead the field into turn one ahead of polesitter Senna Proctor, with Chris Smiley slotting the second of the EXCELR8 Hyundais into third place.
Before the race had chance to settle down however, there was drama on lap two when Adam Morgan tagged the rear of Ollie Jackson at McIntyres as the field backed up ahead – damaging the rear of the Focus and locking the right rear wheel.
That locked wheel then tipped Jackson into a spin as he headed into the Chicane, with the Focus ending up broadside across the circuit on the blind exit to the corner.
As cars went left and right in avoidance, Mike Bushell was left with nowhere to go and hit the side of the Motorbase car before being collected by Sam Osborne’s MB Motorsport Honda, which swiped down the right hand side of the Astra.
With the Focus and Astra all but blocking the circuit and Osborne’s car off in the gravel without a front-left wheel, officials were left with no option but to throw the red flag and bring proceedings to a halt.
The cars were gridded back up in their original positions for a restart across 20 laps with Butcher once again getting the jump into the lead – although the start for the Motorbase man would soon be under investigation.
The Scot set about quickly building a lead over Proctor behind, with Tom Chulton getting up into third at the start of the second lap with a fine move on Smiley at turn one.
Smiley would prove to be the cork in the bottle for cars behind with Tom Oliphant the next man to make a move at turn one on the fifth lap, with Jake Hill and Dan Cammish quickly following him through.
As the race settled down in the top six places, focus then turned to whether Smiley could keep a gaggle of cars behind that included Aiden Moffat, Tom Ingram, Colin Turkington, Adam Morgan and Ash Sutton.
Smiley would make the Hyundai as wide as possible lap after lap to back up the field behind, with Sutton, Ingram and Turkington clashing at the hairpin on lap nine.
Moffat would try to make a move on Smiley but was delayed and Turkington got through, only for the points leader to then slip back to ninth again when he was run wide when trying to pass Smiley and Moffat moved back ahead.
Out front, Butcher stormed to a comfortable win from Proctor and Chilton, with Oliphant, Hill and Cammish rounding out the top six.
Smiley somehow held on to seventh ahead of Moffat on the final lap, with Moffat, Turkington and Ingram rounding out the top ten. Sutton took eleventh with the train behind Smiley being covered by less than a second and half.