Home heroes head the way at Knockhill
Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance’s Rory Butcher topped the opening Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship free practice session at Knockhill, heading home fellow countryman Aiden Moffat.
It was an impressive display from the two Scotsman on home turf with Butcher’s Honda way out front by 0.246 seconds – a relatively substantial margin around the tight and twisty Knockhill layout.
“I know the track really well, obviously, but the car’s working well too,” said Butcher, having already dipped under last year’s qualifying lap record. “There’s more to come but we’re clearly in a good place.
“We tested here back in March and I had a feeling the car would be strong here. It’s now about putting that into practice in the actual event. There’s a long way to go, so we’ve got to work hard.
“We’ve got the last three weekends and it’s nice to know we’re strong here. We’ll hopefully score good points and if we’re a little bit closer to the contenders then we’ll be happy with that.
“It’s going well with Mike (Bushell). He’s right up there as well. Having my engineer in the other car is a dream come true. He’s a class act and it’ll be a real help.”
Few could have predicted that Moffat would be next on the timesheets as his Laser Tools Racing squad continue to acclimatise to the Infiniti Q50, having switched from the Mercedes A Class mid-season.
The times were predictably tight throughout the remainder of the field with the top 23 drivers being covered by less than a second.
Stephen Jelley displayed the prowess of the rear-wheel drive BMW 1 Series by taking third, ahead of Andrew Jordan’s newer 3 Series, suggesting that the Bavarian marque could be back at the sharp end this weekend.
Mike Bushell – replacing Sam Tordoff this weekend – was straight on the pace in the sister AmD Honda Civic Type R and flew to fifth on his return to the series, whilst Senna Proctor produced arguably his best session of the season with sixth in his Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Levorg.
BTC Racing’s Josh Cook was next in the order, whilst last year’s Knockhill pole-sitter – Dan Cammish – was eighth for Halfords Yuasa Racing.
Ash Sutton ensured both Subaru’s were inside the top nine positions, whilst Jake Hill’s Trade Price Cars Audi S3 made a welcome return to the top ten.
The BTCC cars are back on track for FP2 at 12:05, whilst the all-important qualifying session for Round 23 of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will be streamed live from 14:55 via www.itv.com/btcc.
2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 1 – Knockhill
1 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance 50.857s
2 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.246s
3 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +0.284s
4 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.305s
5 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.355s
6 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +51.229s
7 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +0.373s
8 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.395s
9 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.448s
10 Jake HILL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +0.464s
11 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Team Toyota GB with Ginsters +0.471s
12 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.500s
13 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.529s
14 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.564s
15 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.589s
16 Jason PLATO (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +0.627s
17 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +0.756s
18 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.795s
19 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +0.845s
20 Mark BLUNDELL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +0.878s
21 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +0.913s
22 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +0.933s
23 Michael CREES (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +0.992s
24 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +1.053s
25 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport +1.110s
26 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with Motorbase +1.534s
27 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +1.913s
28 Rob SMITH (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +1.939s
29 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +2.962s
30 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Racing +6.966s