Butcher carves his way to wonderful win
Scotsman Rory Butcher has won arguably the race of the season so far as the curtain came down in enthralling style at Snetterton.
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship has provided sensational entertainment throughout the weekend in Norfolk but the UK’s premier motorsport series saved the best until last with a race that will live long in the memory.
BTC Racing’s Chris Smiley held the initial lead from pole position before Jason Plato sneaked through in the Sterling Insurance Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall.
Ash Sutton was soon into second and the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing star immediately closed in on his old team-mate Plato.
The pair battled for what seemed like forever, swapping paint several times as the crowd collectively held its breath.
Plato and Sutton went side-by-side on lap five before the latter eventually slipped through two tours later. Further contact followed and Plato’s Astra recaptured the lead at Agostini.
The chasing pack were closing behind with myriad of changes also taking place there as the likes of Butcher and Josh Cook had stormed their way through from 12th and 15th on the grid collectively.
The race was building towards an exciting climax when Plato, Sutton and Butcher went three-wide down the back straight and that simply wouldn’t work going into Brundle’s. A heart-stopping moment followed as Butcher carved his way down the inside of both, Plato was bumped wide and slid into Sutton’s Subaru. The Levorg was tipped into a spin as Plato also lost ground and it was Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance’s Butcher into the lead to take his second win of the season.
“Once I took the lead I thought ‘this is going to happen on the road’,” said Butcher. “I wasn’t going to lose that one there. I’ve struggled this weekend with the car and the track. We flipped it on its head in terms of set-up for race three and it worked! There were so many opportunities where Ash (Sutton) almost got by Jason (Plato). I wondered how long I could do it for and I held my breath under the bridge! It was massive relief when I came out in front. I’m so happy for the team. I’ve kept my championship alive with that win.
BTC Racing duo of Cook and Smiley were now in a comfortable second and third respectively, with the latter being the only driver to score a podium on the Dunlop Sport Maxx hard tyre today.
“It’s been a long day,” said Cook. “We were a little out of position in qualifying and had to get rid of the hard tyre and ballast in race one. We’re still working the car out. I didn’t make up as much ground as I wanted in race two. It was a busy one in the finale. Fair play to Rory (Butcher) and Mike (Bushell) they’ve worked so hard for it. Double podium for us. We needed that.”
The PMR boys of Rob Collard and Jason Plato were fourth and fifth at the finish after the two-time champion let his team-mate through late on.
BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan was one of very few drivers to keep his nose clean throughout the 12 lap contest and he claimed sixth ahead of Sam Tordoff and Tom Ingram – the Toyota man making a great surge from 23rd on the grid.
Ollie Jackson rounded off a hugely impressive day as the Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher claimed ninth – his third top ten of the day and his ever weekend points haul in the BTCC.
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington allowed the frenetic action to carry on ahead of him, choosing to pick up valuable championship points with tenth.
2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Round 18 – Snetterton
1 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance 12 laps
2 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +1.450s
3 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Racing +8.275s
4 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +8.748s
5 Jason PLATO (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +9.598s
6 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +9.873s
7 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +7.123s
8 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Team Toyota GB with Ginsters +10.465s
9 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +16.985s
10 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +17.385s
11 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +17.517s
12 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +18.483s
13 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +19.449s
14 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +20.270s
15 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +20.556s
16 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +21.150s
17 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +21.552s
18 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with Motorbase +26.560s
19 Rob SMITH (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +26.912s
20 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +27.567s
21 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +33.725s
22 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +3 laps
23 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +3 laps
24 Jake HILL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +13.324s
25 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +5 laps
26 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +6 laps
27 Mark BLUNDELL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +6 laps
28 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport +10 laps
29 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +11 laps
30 Michael CREES (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +12 laps