Kirkcaldy driver Rory Butcher in sixth place in British Touring Car Championship standings after podium finish at Fife track

Kirkcaldy racing driver Rory Butcher goes into the seventh meeting of the current British Touring Car Championship season, at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk the weekend following this one, in sixth place in the contest’s standings after claiming a podium place at the third time of asking at his home track, Knockhill Racing Circuit, last weekend.

By Darin Hutson
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 1:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th August 2022, 1:46 pm
British Touring Car Championship competitor Rory Butcher in action at Fife's Knockhill Racing Circuit (Photo: BTCC)
British Touring Car Championship competitor Rory Butcher in action at Fife's Knockhill Racing Circuit (Photo: BTCC)

The 35-year-old is on 170 points, 57 behind front-runner Colin Turkington, as he prepares for rounds 19 to 21 of the 30-round competition on Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14.

That follows placings of eighth, sixth and third at the Fife track in rounds 16, 17 and 18 respectively at the Fife track, Sunday’s winners being fourth-placed Jake Hill, third-placed Ash Sutton and George Gamble, in 12th.

“The home race is the event I look forward to most each season, but equally it’s the most challenging,” said Butcher, representing Toyota Gazoo Racing UK.

Kirkcaldy racing driver Rory Butcher, right, at Knockhill Racing Circuit, near Dunfermline (Photo: BTCC)

“With the added pressure of competing in front of your home crowd at a circuit you are expected to win at, it can be immensely draining.

“In 2019 I won my very first BTCC race at Knockhill and in 2021 I only scored one measly point, so I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum.

“I made the point of enjoying this event no matter what happens, and I think that approach helped give me an edge when things got tough.

“We qualified in a solid seventh place. I feel we did a good job as we were no match for the rear-wheel-drive BMWs as they had superior traction exiting the hairpin corner. All five BMWs were inside the top six.

“Despite feeling confident for Sunday’s race-day, the first race just didn’t happen for me.

“I really struggled to build a rhythm and found myself falling back to eighth position and looking in my rear view mirror the whole race. I could see my team-mate Ricky Collard had made superb progress through the field and I knew I had to make a big decision for race two.

“We opted to run the set-up from Ricky’s car. It’s quite different to mine, but I didn’t feel it was a risk as he had displayed great pace throughout the weekend.

“We had to act fast with only 90 minutes between races. My mechanics had their work cut out to make the large number of set-up changes in time and I left the awning with just three minutes remaining. Sighing with relief, I took my place on the start line for race two in the nick of time.

“My whole day changed from then on as I could tell from the warm-up lap that this set-up had a bit of go about it.

“Despite losing a place on lap one, the extra boost of confidence I now had in my Toyota Corolla allowed me to fight back to finish P6, passing two BMWs along the way.

“Now in prime spot for the reverse grid, I would start in second place after seventh was drawn from the bowl by none other than double BTCC champion John Cleland. I owe John a beer for that one!

“It felt so natural to be sitting on the front row and I was full of excitement to get going.

“George Gamble sat in pole position in his BMW 3 Series and I knew his car would go from strength to strength as the race progressed, so I needed to pile the pressure on early doors.

“We enjoyed a great battle, and although I mounted pressure on George in the early stages of the race, I just couldn’t get close enough into the hairpin, where the best overtaking opportunity was to be had.

“The race really got exciting when Jake Hill and Colin Turkington in their BMWs started to close in on me and I had to turn defensive, making my Corolla as wide as I possibly could. Eventually, Jake drove past on the main straight, but I made it as hard as possible for him.

“I held off further pressure from Colin to bring the Corolla across the line in third place. It was so rewarding to stand on the podium after such a challenging race-day.

“At one stage, I thought I was only going backwards, but the team went back to the drawing board and turned it around – a fantastic team effort.

“I really enjoyed my home race weekend. There’s nothing better than scoring a podium on home soil. It wasn’t pretty, but we did it.”