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Butcher carves through the field in BTCC epic at Snetterton

Sunday, August 04 2019

Rory Butcher surged to a sensational Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship victory with a swashbuckling drive from 12th on the grid in an all-time classic Snetterton race three this afternoon. The Cobra Sport AmD driver survived a frenetic scrap for the lead to claim his second win of the season, and first outright on the road in his Honda Civic Type R. 

Chris Smiley started the race from pole position in BTC racing's newer shaped Honda Civic Type R, and he initially held the lead of the race after fending of the attention of the fast-starting, rear-wheel-drive Subaru Levorg of Ashley Sutton. 

As Smiley defended from Sutton into the hairpin at Wilson, Jason Plato cunningly snuck up the inside and pinched the lead from them in his Vauxhall Astra. Sutton took second whilst Smiley was forced back into third head of Ollie Jackson's Ford Focus RS and the fast-starting Audi S3 of Jake Hill.

Thus began an intense game of cat and mouse between Plato and Sutton, with the former utilising every defensive tactic in his armoury to try and hold onto the lead. From breaking the slipstream on the straight, to positioning his car perfectly in the corners, Plato did everything he needed to keep Sutton behind him in the first half of the race. 

As the race reached its fifth lap of 12, a gaggle of cars began to bunch up behind the defending Plato as Sutton, Smiley, and Hill all gained ground on the leader. By this point, Butcher's electric charge through the pack was well underway and he was up to fifth and lapping the circuit almost two seconds faster per lap than the leader. 

Plato and Sutton first came to blows on the fifth tour as they battled side-by-side into Williams, and Smiley opportunistically made the most of Sutton running wide to reclaime second place. 

The Subaru driver was back into second by Agostini on the following lap though, and immidiately resumed his pursuit of Plato in the lead. Whilst those two continued to duke it out at the front Hill and Butcher moved past Smiley into third and fourth, before Hill slowed on the straight, freeing Butcher to chase the leaders.

As the race moved onto its seventh lap, Plato and Sutton ran two abreast down the length of the start-finsh straight, with the latter remaining alongside around the outside of first Riches, then Wilson, allowing him to attack into Palmer. Plato refuesed to give up though, muscling back past at Williams. 

By this stage, the top-three were running nose-to-tail-to-nose-to-tail with Butcher firmly within the rear view mirrors of those ahead.

The following time around it was Josh Cook in the second BTC Racing Civic that was the man on the move, and he passed his team mate at Agostini as the tension across the 2.97-mile 300 circuit amidst light drops of rain.

At the front, Plato and Sutton were both jumped by Butcher in the braking zone for the chicane at Brundle. As the Honda driver scampered into the lead, his two rivals collided, sending Sutton sailing backwards across the grass and down the order.

From there, Butcher blitzed home to a resounding victory, whilst Cook and Smiley held onto the podium positions behind to secure an 'unofficial' one-two-three for Honda, courtesy of independently-run entries.

Plato ultimately finished in fifth, one place behind his team-mate Rob Collard who was another making a late dart up the order. Andrew Jordan and Sam Tordoff both kept their noses clean to finsh sixth and seventh, just ahead of race one winner Tom Ingram who came through from 23rd to secure points with an eighth place finish in his Toyota. 

Ollie Jackson completed a strong day with ninth in his Ford Focus RS, whilst Colin Turkington retained his championship lead with 10th.

Further back, Sam Osborne secured his and Excelr8 Motorsport's first ever BTCC points finish with 15th.

Sutton ultimately finshed 20th after falling out of contention following his detour across the grass. 

1, R Butcher, Cobra Sport AmD, Honda Civic Type R, 12 laps
2, J Cook, BTC Racing, Honda Civic Type R, +1.450s
3, C Smiley, BTC Racing, Honda Civic Type R, +8.275s
4, R Collard, Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing, Vauxhall Astra, +8.748s
5 J Plato, Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing, Vauxhall Astra, +9.598s
6, A Jordan, BMW Pirtek Racing, BMW 330i M Sport, +9.873s
7, S Tordoff, Cobra Sport AmD, Honda Civic Type R, +10.272s
8, T Ingram, Team Toyota GB with Ginsters, Toyota Corolla, +10.465s
9, O Jackson, Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher, Ford Focus RS, +16.985s
10, C Turkington, Team BMW, BMW 330i M Sport, +17.385s
11, J Goff, RCIB Insurance, Volkwagen CC, +17.517s
12, M Neal, Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R, +18.483s
13, T Chilton, Team Shredded Wheat with Gallagher, Ford Focus RS, +19.449s
14, M Simpson, Simpson Racing, Honda Civic Type R, +20.270s
15, S Osborne, Excelr8 Motorsport, MG6, +20.556s
16, D Cammish, Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R, +21.550s
17, S Jelley, Team Parker Racing, BMW 125i M Sport, +21.552s
18, N Hamilton, ROKiT Racing with Motorbase, Ford Focus RS, +26.560s
19, R Smith, Excelr8 Motorsport, MG6, +26.912s
20, A Sutton, Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, Subaru Levorg, +27.567s
21, A Moffat, Laser Tools Racing, Infiniti Q50, +33.725s
DNF, S Proctor, Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, Subaru Levorg
DNF, C Boardley, RCIB Insurance, Volkswagen CC
DNF, J Hill, TradePriceCars.com, Audi S3
DNF, A Morgan, Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport, Mercedes-Benz A-Class
DNF, T Oliphant, Team BMW, BMW 330i M Sport
DNF, M Blundell, TradePriceCars.com, Audi S3
DNF, D Rowbottom, Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport, Mercedes-Benz A-Class
DNF, B Thompson, GKR Scaffolding, Volkswagen CC
DNF, M Crees, GKR Scaffolding, Volkswagen CC