Strong showing for Butel in MSA Formula opener

Jack Butel showed a great deal of potential across the opening MSA Formula rounds at the iconic Brands Hatch circuit last weekend (4/5 April). With limited pre-season testing, Butel compared favourably against his experienced rivals in a large and competitive field. A solid 15th and 11th in the opening two contests before a retirement in the final race of the day was not a true reflection of pace throughout the weekend.New year, new car and new challenge for Jerseyman Jack Butel after a strong campaign in the BARC Formula Renault series in 2014. Butel finished a credible eighth overall last year and attention now turned to the new and highly competitive MSA Formula Championship powered by Ford EcoBoost. Jack will once again team up with SWB Motorsport and go wheel-to-wheel with some of the most talented up and coming drivers in the world.With a couple of winter tests under his belt, Butel and the team were confident of a good showing when the championship kicked off at the famous Brands Hatch circuit in Kent last weekend. The FIA approved MSA Formula Championship supports the hugely popular British Touring Car Championship, which sees fellow Channel Islander Andy Priaulx as one of the main protagonists.In qualifying the Jersey-based driver struggled with set-up and balance in the damp but drying conditions, which meant dialing in the set-up was a difficult task for the three races that lay ahead.Heading into a dry race one, Butel made his intentions clear from the start climbing from 17th up to 12th in the opening quarter of the race. After a brief safety car period, the former De La Salle student dropped a handful of places as the experience of those around him came to the fore. A respectable 15th was a good start to his 2015 campaign.Under the spotlight of the live ITV4 television cameras and tens of thousands spectators lining the banks of the circuit, Jack made an aggressive start as he looked to pick off a few more places. Avoiding the first lap drama superbly he maturely got his head down and punched in some respectable lap times as some of his rivals faulted around him. Two safety car periods didn’t distract the 19-year-old as he powered his way to 11th overall.The final race of the day was to be an unlucky one for Butel. The young gun fired himself into the top 10 in the opening stages of the race. Unfortunately for Butel on the descent down from Druids to Graham Hill Bend a fellow competitor made a late lunge up the inside, forcing Jack off the track. With damage too substantial Jack was unable to continue – forcing him into retirement. The good progress was halted… for now at least. Quote from the weekend -

“Overall we had a good opening weekend and I felt more and more comfortable as each race went by. We had good pace and I was able to push as my confidence grew in my new machine. I am gutted about the DNF in race three but that’s the highs and lows of motorsport,” postulated Butel.“ I would like to thank my sponsors and supporters for getting me here but also a big thanks to the team [SWB Motorsport] for preparing a great car and for working around the clock to get the car ready for our Thruxton test later this week after the race three accident at Brands Hatch.“ I am looking forward to the next round at Donington Park as I went well there last year and I hope to take another step forward up the grid. The aim is to be fighting at the sharp end eventually, and I am under no illusion that it’s gong to be a hard fight to get there – but I am certainly up for the challenge!”The MSA Formula Championship heads north to Donington Park in Leicestershire in two weeks’ time. Both Jack and SWB Motorsport will look to progress further in the competitive single-seater series.


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