Butcher wins Carrera Cup GB round nine

Rory Butcher scores first overall victory with faultless performanceMichael Meadows fails to finish and has points’ lead cut to 16 from 34Ahmad Al Harthy and Will Goff take Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 winsRory Butcher drove the race of his life to score an emphatic victory in round nine of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft today (Saturday 23 June) in a thrilling race that featured tremendous battles all the way down the field. Ahmad Al Harthy (Pro-Am1) and Will Goff (Pro-Am2) both raced hard to win their respective categories but there was disaster for championship leader Michael Meadows who retired with a puncture and saw his points’ lead slashed from 34 to 16 as Jonas Gelzinis finished second.Butcher (Celtic Speed) didn’t get a great start but was able to fend off Gelzinis (Juta Racing) and Meadows (Redline Racing) into the opening lap. However, Meadows was in trouble as early as lap two when he clipped the tyre markers at the chicane and damage to the front bodywork ripped the splitter off the front of the car. Just behind Meadows, Daniel Lloyd (JD Pierce with Team Parker) was put off line by the tyres and dropped from fourth to seventh with a big moment on the grass.Now struggling for grip, Meadows had to defend hard from Glynn Geddie (Redline Racing) and Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) as Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport) and Lloyd closed in to make it a five-car pack. Meadows was clearly struggling to hold on and was locking a front brake, which ultimately led to his retirement when the flat-spotted tyre failed and he slid off the road at Tower on lap 12.By then, Tordoff had pulled off an opportunist move at the hairpin to grab a place from Geddie and duly claimed the final podium position as Meadows limped back to the pits to retire.But the big glory was reserved for Butcher who had driven a tremendous race to take a first Carrera Cup win for both himself and the Celtic Speed team. “It can’t get much better than a lights to flag win. I wasn’t going to let this one slip and I’m just coming to terms with it,” said an elated Butcher after the podium ceremony. Meanwhile, knowing that Meadows was struggling, Gelzinis had driven a measured race to make sure of a big haul of points. “I saw that Michael had trouble with the other guys and to go after Rory would have been a big risk,” said Gelzinis.Tordoff starred on his way to third from sixth on the grid. “I had to work for that: we made a big transformation in the car from qualifying,” he said. Geddie fended off Barker and Lloyd for fourth despite a damaged front splitter.The contest for Pro-Am1 was almost as close even though Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) led from the start. But with Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Team Parker) and Victor Jimenez (Redline/Oman Air) chasing constantly and trading places, it was always in doubt and only 1.5s covered three cars at the flag. “The pressure was on and it was extremely hard to keep the gap,” said Al Harthy. “I’m pleased to be back on the top step of the podium.”There was also a close finish in Pro-Am2 as Goff just held off Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) by three-quarters of a second. “I nearly chucked it off three times,” said Goff. “I thought I was okay but then I ran wide at Sunny and he caught me again.”Round nine results:Pro category: 1 Rory Butcher; 2 Jonas Gelzinis; 3 Sam Tordoff.Pro-Am1 category: 1 Ahmad Al Harthy; 2 Derek Pierce; 3 Victor Jimenez.Pro-Am2 category: 1 Will Goff; 2 Tautvydas Barstys

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