Butcher celebrates super Saturday
Rory Butcher enjoyed a super Saturday at Silverstone as the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK racer secured the pole position for Round 22 of the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, having topped every session throughout the day. The Scotsman – running in his relatively ballast-free Toyota Corolla – set the pace during both free practice sessions, before going on to top the times in the first segment of qualifying, setting up a potential clean sweep heading into the showdown.
With time running out in the all-important ten-minute finale, the #6 Speedworks Motorsport-run machine flashed past the Silverstone grandstands one last time to snatch pole position in the closing moments. The Qualifying Showdown was first introduced as a one-off last season and was subsequently increased to three events – Snetterton, Silverstone and Donington Park – for the 2021 campaign, providing more entertainment for fans and drivers alike. A marginally-reduced window to record initial lap times took place, before the top ten fastest competitors at the end of the 25-minute session were rewarded with the opportunity to clinch P1 on the grid during a ten-minute pole position showdown.
The earlier segment was largely uneventful until a puncture for Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport’s Tom Chilton sent his BMW spinning wildly through Copse. The other main headlines were made by front-runners that failed to make the showdown as MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square’s Jake Hill and Halfords Racing with Cataclean’s Gordon Shedden both missed out. With lap times reset, the showdown itself produced a frenetic flurry of action where positions changed at almost every moment.
Aiden Moffat fired his Laser Tools Racing Infiniti up to second late on, seemingly to join Tom Ingram’s Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com Hyundai on the front row, before Butcher’s flier relegated them to second and third respectively. Championship contender Josh Cook performed well to take fourth in his BTC Racing Honda, whilst Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing enjoyed its best Saturday of the season so far – Daniel Lloyd and Jason Plato ended up fifth and tenth in the order.
Team BMW had both Colin Turkington and Stephen Jelley inside the top ten in sixth and ninth respectively, whilst Halfords Racing with Cataclean’s Dan Rowbottom and Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton were wedged between the Bavarian machines on the timesheets. It was an historic day for the UK’s premier motorsport series as the BTCC’s Hybrid era also began with 2013 champion Andrew Jordan piloting the all-new Hybrid Toyota Corolla.
The car is contesting all official sessions throughout the weekend as part of a demonstration of the hybrid system. The objective is to replicate full real-time BTCC race event conditions for the hybrid system, as part of the carefully planned ongoing test and development cycle, whilst it is not regarded as the full competitive debut of the car. All BTCC cars will run hybrid energy from the 2022 season onwards.