Rory Butcher enjoyed a super Saturday at Silverstone as the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK star secured pole position for Round 22 of the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, having topped every session throughout the day (25 September).
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.
Rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship take place at Silverstone tomorrow and every race will be broadcast live on ITV4 from 1100.
Rory Butcher said: “The car’s been a pleasure to drive all day. We’ve built into the season and developed the car more around me. Since Oulton Park it’s just been a total change for me. At Croft I felt like we could have potentially got pole position, but it wasn’t to be due to the engine failure.
“Today, I was like ‘right, who cares about that, let’s focus on each session as it comes, get the most out of myself, get the most out of the car’, it got a little bit close at the end, but we did it!”
Tom Ingram said: “We’re still going around with 39kg of success ballast, so I’m pleased, really, really pleased. We needed this. This is where we’ve been struggling: Saturdays. We need to be light on a Saturday, to stand a chance of getting a good first race result.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s a circuit that I love and do well here. Since 2016 I don’t think I’ve been off the podium, and I’ve had a win every year since as well. From that point of view it’s a circuit that I really enjoy, so it’s good! I know [Butcher’s] car; I know where it’s fairly strong and where it’s fairly weak, so I can exploit that tomorrow.”
Aiden Moffat said: “That was something new for us, carrying weight in qualifying, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But P3, I’m over the moon with that!
“I just need to get as many points as possible. The big thing is, Ash [Sutton] has to do what he has to do for the championship, and if things are ever a bit of a dog fight, I’d look to help him. But we’re leading the Teams’ Championship too. It’s crucial that we both score good points and it would be nice if I carry on moving up the table a bit. We’re up to P7 now and starting third tomorrow so points are the main thing.”
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Top Ten Showdown – Silverstone
1 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK 57.440s
2 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.016s
3 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.070s
4 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +0.175s
5 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +0.200s
6 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.238s
7 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.289s
8 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.334s
9 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +0.371s
10 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +0.461s
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying – Silverstone
1 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK 57.383s
2 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.069s
3 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.103s
4 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.196s
5 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.217s
6 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +0.249s
7 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +0.269s
8 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +0.273s
9 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.307s
10 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +0.307s
11 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +0.309s
12 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.320s
13 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) BTC Racing +0.338s
14 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.355s
15 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.367s
16 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.375s
17 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.392s
18 Sam SMELT (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +0.405s
19 Jack BUTEL (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.471s
20 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +0.506s
21 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +0.551s
22 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.562s
23 Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions +0.590s
24 Andy NEATE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +0.708s
25 Jack MITCHELL (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +0.714s
26 Rick PARFITT (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.725s
27 Jade EDWARDS (GBR) PHSC with BTC Racing +0.742s
28 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +0.773s
29 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading +1.050s