Earlier this week, Mickey Butler from Dunlop announced that the BTCC series would be using the soft tyre during qualifying and the races at Knockhill this weekend; and that things were about to get fast… very fast.
Judging by this morning’s opening session, Mickey was spot on. Local hero Rory Butcher rounded out the session on top almost 1 second ahead of the current lap record time. He secured a time of 50.857 seconds around Knockhill’s tight twists and dips, more than a second under Colin Turkington’s lap record time of 51.982secs. Now, consider that Butcher is carrying 30kilos of Championship ballast this weekend… quite where we’ll end up by the end of the weekend is anyone’s guess.
Interestingly, crossing the line in P2 on the times was Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat. The Scot had intimated that they had turned a corner with the car during a recent test at Snetterton, but to come out and post a 51.103 second effort in the opening session of the weekend bodes well for a strong weekend for the Livingston based squad.
It was also fitting that Mike Bushell, driving the second Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Honda Civic Type R was just three hundredths of a second of Butcher’s time following the sudden withdrawal from Sam Tordoff following a tragic family bereavement. Bushell, who missed out on a Touring Car drive at the very last minute this year, has been a revelation as Rory’s engineer this year with him receiving plaudits and compliments from up and down the paddock. However, he’ll be keen to cement the point that he can pedal a car just as fast as anyone else, with a view to ensuring he doesn’t miss out next time around.
The next session for the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship takes place at 12.05pm today. It’s another 40-minute session for the BTCC drivers to fine-tune their set ups.
Elsewhere on the times, there were a few notable absences in the top ten, with Neal, Turkington, Ingram, Smiley, Plato, Collard and Tom Chilton all missing out. It’s early days yet though and we should see some of the leading lights climb up the order in the next session.
If you fancy coming along for qualifying today, action takes place at 3pm. It will also be live on ITV online.
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