Butcher storms to BTCC qualifying pole

Yes it was cold and yes it was windy at Knockhill this afternoon, but as 3pm approached we all knew the temperature was about to positively explode. With less than a second covering the first 22 drivers in FP2, and with a few of the bigger teams yet to fully reveal their hand… the excitement for the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship qualifying session reached fever-pitch at 2.59pm.

Then, some 30 minutes or so later there was a positive sense of justice when Rory Butcher led the Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance racing team to another BTCC pole – particularly poignant for the team considering the tragedy that befell teammate Sam Tordoff last week.

“What a special pole this is. To do it at my home track, with all my family and friends watching on was special. Also, in light of what has happened to my teammate Sam… that one was for them,” said Butcher.

No doubt there will be muted celebrations and some reflection in the AmD camp tonight, but after a harrowing week, we’re sure there will be a few glasses raised to Tordoff family at the team meal this evening.

Back to the session itself, and it was a typical Knockhill BTCC qualifying session. Busy and frantic, almost to the point of frenetic with both circuit and ITV commentators doing well to keep abreast of the constant chopping and changing of the order on the timing screens. In the early stages it was a rear-wheel-drive lock out with all three of the West Surrey Racing BMWs topping the times. Indeed, it took almost six minutes of the session for the first front-wheel-drive car to register a top six berth – Tom Ingram in this occasion.

As time ticked on, it was Andrew Jordan who was setting the pace – becoming the first man to drop into the 50-second bracket with a time of 50.857s; quickly followed by Dam Cammish in the Halfords Yuasa Racing Type R.

Mark Blundell’s qualifying session came to a premature end when he had a spin coming out of Clark’s corner, bringing out the red flag and a temporary stoppage to the session. At this point, Rory was P26 on the board and miles off the perfect lap of the entire field so far – a 50.679 second lap.

But, just three minutes into the restarted session, Butcher climbed to P1 with an incredible 50.662 second effort – some two tenths of a second quicker than anyone else. As time went on both Jordan and Cammish threatened to close the gap – climbing to 50.7s and 50.6s respectively.

Not to denied, Butcher then went even quicker, posting a 50.451 second effort to extend his advantage at the head of the field and claim Knockhill pole, his first in the BTCC.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day, with three BTCC races and some superb support series racing, it’s all set for another classic BTCC raceday at Knockhill. Fingers crossed on the weather and hope to see you all here!

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