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Trio of sevenths for ‘in the mix’ Rory Butcher at Thruxton

Toyota’s Rory Butcher scored a trio of seventh-place finishes in Thruxton’s British Touring Car Championship races, keeping the Scot inside the top ten in the drivers’ championship.

Butcher had qualified his Toyota Corolla in tenth on Saturday, with team-mate Ricky Collard a mere 0.025 seconds further back in 11th.

At the start of race one, Butcher held station, before gaining two places on the second tour. After moving ahead of Mikey Doble on lap five he found himself in seventh, which is where he would take the chequered flag, with big gaps to both the cars in front and behind come the end.

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Race two saw Butcher initially progress two places past Dan Cammish and Colin Turkington, but he was unable to hold the place and both drivers regained lost ground, with Butcher having to settle for seventh again.

From sixth on the grid for the final race, Butcher lost out at the start and then again stayed seventh to the end.

With Collard finishing ahead in fifth in race three, and being close to Butcher throughout the weekend, the duo secured Toyota its first Manufacturers’ Trophy of the season thanks to their combined scores at the event.

Despite lacking the pace to fight at the very front, Butcher was pleased with what he described as ‘progress’ in the team.

“The Corolla felt pretty good from the outset at Thruxton,” said the Scot. “We didn’t manage to put it all together in qualifying, and it wouldn’t have taken very much to move a few places higher up the grid, but we always have a strong race car so we knew we could go on the attack on Sunday.

“By the time I’d fought my way up to seventh in race one, I was in a bit of a no man’s land, so I just focussed on looking after the car and bringing it home.

“Then I had a good battle with Dan and Colin in race two but didn’t quite have enough to keep them behind.

“We were in the mix again in race three, but it’s difficult to overtake at Thruxton when you’re in the pack and you know one mis-step could cost you a whole load of positions.

“Overall, though, we’re clearly making progress and all the effort back at the factory is starting to pay off. It won’t be long until it’s our day…”

Team Principal Christian Dick praised the consistency of his leading drivers over the weekend.

“Thruxton is a unique proposition on the BTCC calendar, and as such demands a unique set-up and approach,” said Dick.

“For various reasons, we didn’t manage to nail qualifying, but Rory and Ricky nonetheless put themselves in with a solid shout from where they were starting and both then drove extremely well throughout race day.

“Rory, as ever, was supremely consistent and his reward was a solid haul of points for three excellent performances.

“It was fantastic to end the weekend by taking the Manufacturers’ trophy for race three – hopefully it’ll be the first of many this year.”

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