The second race for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car event at Knockhill, sponsored by Lokring Northern (UK) started at 14.17pm and well, that was about it really. A lock-up from Andrew Jordan heading into the Duffus Dip on the opening lap sent Matt Neal into a sideways moment which set off a chain reaction of events that ultimately ended with several cars off track and a head on collision between Stephen Jelly and Senna Proctor at the foot of the hill.
So, with all the commotion on track, a prolonged red flag period ensued as cars were removed from the track. Whilst those that remained, relatively unscathed from the opening lap madness, underwent some last-minute surgery as body parts were fabricated together with that ever-useful compound – gaffer tape.
Cue, the restart of race two and all looked to be going in a similar vein to the opener with Plato leading the way from Sutton, Turkington and Collard. However, this time around with the weight balance shifting between the two Subarus – Sutton, the lighter of the two cars, made his move on Plato to take the lead. From there on it was hammer-and-tongs racing throughout the pack; with 2-wheeled moments galore through the Arnold Clark Chicane and an almighty moment for Dave Newsham at Clark’s when he grabbed a little too much kerb.
In between all the action, Knockhill’s Gordon Shedden and Rory Butcher were moving up the order. With Butcher climbing all the way to P10 courtesy of some overtakes and shenanigans on track – namely a clash between Price and Neal that saw the Halfords Yuasa Racing Civic Type R flash past the nose of Butcher’s car (welcome to the BTCC) heading into turn one – Duffus Dip. Neal ended the session in the gravel with youngster Price ending the race in seventh place behind the other Honda of Gordon Shedden.
Up at the front, Plato began to reel in Sutton and with the former BTCC champion bearing down hard on his team-mate… you had the overriding feeling that he would make an attempt at the lead… the old Plato would, but would he risk it? The answer was Yes and No, he certainly applied the pressure; but in truth never really forced the issue, and crossed the line inches behind the No.116 Levorg for another dose of championship points.
Certainly, a far more dramatic race that the opening encounter of the day, and yet there was still time for another twist to the tail. With Butcher and his team-mates lauding his 10th place finish in first-ever Touring Car meeting, You Tube star SHMEE150 was in the pit lane plucking ball number 10 from the Reverse Grid draw bag to propel Butcher onto the front row for race three in P1. If Rory was feeling any pressure heading into his home round this weekend… it just cranked up a couple of notches like only the BTCC can do.
So, as we gear up for another thrilling encounter at 17.12pm tonight… the stakes have just been raised and Butcher has now been forced to go all-in on his BTCC debut. Quite how things will turn out… it’s Touring Cars. Nobody knows… and that’s the beauty of it.