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Rory Butcher ‘confident’ of being ‘right in the mix’ at Brands Hatch

Toyota’s Rory Butcher is ‘confident’ of being ‘right in the mix’ on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in this weekend’s British Touring Car Championship races.

Butcher, 36, has twice won around the short Kent circuit, but since joining the Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota team in 2021, he has yet to return to the top step of the rostrum at the venue.

The circuit is where Speedworks scored its first-ever BTCC win in 2016, and although the Corolla has reasonable form there – Tom Ingram was on the podium in all three races in 2020 – Butcher has tallied just one podium, in 2022, from six starts at the track in Toyota machinery.

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At last month’s season opener at Donington Park, Butcher had a challenging weekend, picking up a best finish of 11th in both races one and three, and a two-points haul from race two with 14th.

The team is adapting to running a new Neil Brown Engineering-prepared Toyota engine, and heads into the second event of 2023 with high confidence, with Butcher himself having been fourth in the official pre-season test at Brands Hatch.

The team will also have to factor in the Option Tyre, which makes its first appearance of the season and must be run in one of the weekend’s three races.

“We learnt a lot at Donington Park, about the new engine, how it interacts with the overall package and the revisions to the hybrid rules,” said Butcher.

“I think we ended the weekend in a much stronger position than where we had begun. I was certainly much happier with the Corolla by race three, and felt I had a car underneath me that I could really go on the attack with.

“I’m confident we can carry that improvement forward to Brands Hatch – a circuit I always enjoy going to – and if we can pick up from where we left off, there’s no reason at all why we shouldn’t be right in the mix.”

Team Principal Christian Dick says the team is targeting more silverware this weekend.

“We always look forward to going to Brands Hatch,” said Dick. “It was the scene of our big BTCC breakthrough in 2016, when we proved we were capable of winning at the highest level of British motorsport – a real milestone in the Speedworks story.

“We’ve obviously since gone on to win a lot more, but we never take that success for granted and continue to work ever-harder and aim ever-higher.

“Our target entering every race meeting is to come away with a trophy – and that is no different this weekend.”

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