Rory Butcher delighted in a double victory in the British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone, where the Toyota driver had ‘a lot of fun’ on the way to his best-ever weekend in the series.
Having been undefeated on Saturday, after being the fastest driver in both practice sessions and qualifying, Butcher continued his impressive pace on Sunday.
Despite a small blip at the start of race one, where Tom Ingram managed to get his Hyundai ahead of Butcher for the first three laps, Butcher was able to win the first two races at the Northamptonshire circuit, including claiming victory in race two with the maximum 75 kg of success ballast on board.
The Scot was then randomly drawn to start race three from 11th on the grid, handing him an uphill task for the final encounter of the day.
In a battling race, Butcher ultimately finished in 13th, even though he had run in tenth in the early stages.
The 34-year-old admitted that he ‘had a feeling’ he would have a strong weekend ever since he got behind the wheel on Friday.
“It’s just kind of flowed,” said Butcher to TouringCars.Net of his winning weekend. “I came in with no expectation – I’m fed up of having expectations.
“This year has just been up and down so much. I knew that we had started to find something in the car in the last few rounds – at Croft I think we were denied a potential pole position.
“On Friday night I just had a feeling that we were fast – the car was giving me all the right signals in shakedown. Although we didn’t have lap times, I feel like I knew it was good.
“From the word go in FP1 it’s just been a pleasure to drive, and I’ve only had to make small changes. When it’s like that, and just the way my mindset has been this weekend, it’s just a case of getting in the car, delivering the lap, and get the job done.
“It’s been a lot of fun really. I just didn’t have expectations coming in, but looking back, it’s been quite amazing, really.”
Butcher was unperturbed by the addition of significantly more success ballast for the second race of the day.
“The car handled the weight really well. I think the difference was in the corners out of Maggotts, Becketts and Luffield; in the two slow-speed corners it just felt a bit sluggish.
“I think it was slow off the corner, but I was surprised at how well the car braked. Braking performance has been really good all weekend and there were no issues at all.
“High-speed balance has also been good – through Copse I felt as quick, maybe quicker, through there than any other car around me.”
Butcher leaves Silverstone 98 points adrift of the championship lead – with the Toyota driver consequently admitting that his title challenge is over for this year despite being the weeeknd’s top scorer.
“I’m thinking about the bigger picture at the moment – about next year. I’m thinking about the car and I’m going session by session.
“I’ve really taken my mind off points; I’m out of the championship, really. At this moment in time, I don’t really want to be thinking about championships.
“I’m out there enjoying myself, enjoying the car and just trying to reward the team with results and as a by-product you get points.”