Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance’s Rory Butcher has scored a first ever Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship pole position after wowing his home crowd at Knockhill earlier today (14 September).
The Scotsman topped both free practice sessions and was already quickest mid-qualifying, but with the chasing pack edging closer the Honda Civic Type R driver improved yet further to clock a new qualifying lap record of 50.451s.
Last year’s pole-sitter Dan Cammish completed a fine effort to claim second as the Halfords Yuasa Racing man aims to cut the points deficit in the title race again this weekend, having previously clawed back almost 20 points on standings leader Colin Turkington over the previous three events.
That challenge may not be easy for Cammish, however, as BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan – currently second in the overall standings – claimed third on the grid for tomorrow’s opener after he also produced the goods in his success-ballast laden 3 Series. Jordan was on the edge throughout the 30-minute session and even had a trip through the gravel at full charge, immediately after setting his fastest lap.
Damage limitation was the target for championship leader Turkington and sixth on the grid represents a solid return for the Northern Irishman, although late flying laps from Tom Chilton and Senna Proctor ensured that two cars with line-up in-between the top two title protagonists tomorrow.
Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher’s Chilton won at Knockhill last season and the Ford Focus showed its speed again to take fourth, whilst Proctor grabbed his best qualifying result since moving to Adrian Flux Subaru Racing with fifth.
Tom Oliphant ensured that all three manufacturer-backed BMWs will start inside the top seven, whilst Adam Morgan’s upturn in form continued with eighth. The Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport driver may have even been further up the order but for getting baulked up behind Rob Collard’s Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall in the final sector.
Chris Smiley completed a topsy turvy day for BTC Racing with ninth – whilst his team-mate and championship contender Josh Cook languished down in 20th – whilst three-time BTCC champion Matt Neal rounded out the top ten.
Tom Ingram (Team Toyota GB with Ginsters) and Jason Plato (Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing) were two of the quicker drivers that ended up outside of the top ten, both having run their cars through the gravel on the exit of the chicane whilst on quick laps.
Rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship take place at Knockhill tomorrow with all the action around the 1.27-mile circuit being screened live and exclusively on ITV4 from 11:00.