Photo: JAS Motorsport

Marco Butti accepts Race 1 penalty on Honda debut

Marco Butti was one of the main protagonists of the show in FIA TCR World Tour Race 1 at Vallelunga.

The GOAT Racing driver, who is making his debut with the Honda Civic Type R FL5 TCR, fought intensely with the likes of Thed Björk and Mikel Azcona during the race.

But contact with the latter at Turn 7 on the first lap resulted in a penalty for the young Italian, dropping him from fourth to fifth.

“I think the penalty is fair,” admitted Butti to TouringCarTimes.

“I accept I need to take it easier, although it was not easy to do because of the damp conditions of the track. It’s something that I think can happen on the first lap in these tricky situations. I will try to do a smarter race today, but at least I can say we did offer a good show and we had fun.”

At such a young age it is a challenge for the 19-year-old to fight with the biggest names in touring car racing.

“I already had two opportunities at Vallelunga and Macau last year, I was able to get used to fighting with these big names that I had only ever seen on tv,” said Butti.

“Obviously it’s not easy to confront such drivers on track at 19 years old, but I tried to focus on my own race without thinking who was in the other cars.”

As for today’s race, the Italian will try to avoid trouble as he learns about the behaviour of his Civic in the changed conditions.

“We should have a bit of an advantage starting on the right side of the grid,” said Butti.

“It will all be about the start, the fastest drivers are obviously behind me. But with people like Néstor Girolami, Santiago Urrutia or John Filippi in front of me, I’m aware that nobody will make it easy for me. We’ll see with the sunny conditions what happens during the race.”

Butti recently switched from Hyundai to Honda, and he says he is loving his new car and team on his full season debut in the TCR World Tour.

“I really like the Civic Type R, and I’m very comfortable with GOAT Racing and the precious support of JAS Engineering,” said Butti.

“I think we’re very competitive together. Obviously with Hyundai I had some good results and good opportunities, but now that I switched sides I’m really happy and I want to make sure I exploit the potential of our package to the maximum.”