Rory Butcher had a ‘fantastic weekend’ in the British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone as the Toyota driver not only claimed a win but also finished on the podium in all three races.
After a dominant performance at the Northamptonshire circuit in 2021, Butcher looked set to repeat that feat in 2022 after claiming pole position by 0.037 seconds in Saturday’s qualifying session.
The Scot then took a lights-to-flag win in the opening race of the day – his first of the season – by seeing off a challenge from MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill.
Butcher then led the early stages of race two, before a mid-race safety car period eroded his lead. With less hybrid boost available to him after his race one success, the Scot had a tougher time keeping Hill at bay and on lap 12 he lost the lead to his rival.
The 35-year-old then had to fend off a challenge from brother-in-law Gordon Shedden in order to hold on to second.
Randomly drawn to start from seventh for the partially-reversed race three grid, Butcher benefitted from a strong start and those in front of him tangling to gain four places up to third on the opening lap.
Thereafter he held station to complete the podium hat-trick – the first time in his BTCC career that he has finished all three races on the rostrum.
“You can only dream of weekends like that,” said Butcher, who has moved up to fifth in the drivers’ standings. “It had been a long road since our last victory, and we’d been needing it all year.
“I was getting a bit bored of being reminded that I was the only driver inside the top ten in the championship standings without a race win to my name this season!
“Silverstone has been really good to me over the past couple of years, and off the back of our performance and result there 12 months ago, expectations were high.
“The Corolla felt amazing right from the start – just mega. It reminded me of the feeling I had in the car in 2021, and it was really hooked-up in qualifying.
“As usual around the National circuit, it was a session that literally came down to hundredths-of-a-second and I didn’t know if pole was on, but thankfully, I managed to piece my quickest lap together.
“That obviously gave us the best possible opportunity to get a result out of the weekend, and I went into Sunday feeling very positive and ready to fight.
“We were absolutely gunning for the win in race one. I thought I had checked out initially, so I focussed on easing off the hybrid and trying to regen, but Jake [Hill] began making massive inroads into me and the safety car then equalised everything.
“After the re-start, it was a ‘dash for the cash’ and just qualifying lap after qualifying lap as I kept counting them down!
“We made some changes for race two and the car really switched on in the first few laps, but then it fell away slightly and although I put up a bit of a defence against Jake, once I saw him pull alongside, I knew it was game over.
“Nonetheless, I was content to finish second and claw back some more points against the two guys I’m battling for fifth in the championship.
“We improved the Corolla again for the final race, and I was made up to come away with three podiums for the first time in my BTCC career.
“I had one go at Ash [Sutton] into Brooklands on the second lap, but we didn’t quite have the legs on him to be able to mount a proper challenge. Still, what a fantastic weekend!
“My family were there to celebrate with me and I was delighted for the whole team – it was great to repay them for all their hard work this season with three sets of silverware.”