Jersey racer Jack Butel was left to wonder what might have been after on-track contact and technical gremlins saw him miss out on first points finish of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season at Snetterton.
Jack headed for the Norfolk circuit eager to try and break into the top 15 for the first time this year on the back of a weekend at Knockhill where he had displayed solid pace at the wheel of his EXCELR8 Motorsport-run Hyundai.
The opening practice session would be nothing short of a disaster however, with Jack struggling with the handling of the car throughout in sweltering conditions and finding himself well off the pace.
Hard work from the team would resolve the issue ahead of the second practice session, leaving Jack confident about his chances going into qualifying.
Setting his fastest lap by far, Jack would end the session with the 20th best time, putting him ahead of former points leader Josh Cook on the grid.
Although he lost ground at the start, Jack showed strong race pace to fight his way back into the top 20, with a fine move seeing him dive past Cook and Aiden Moffat to sit in 19th spot.
After a brief caution period, Jack found himself going three-wide with George Gamble and Dexter Patterson as his forward charge continued, but contact from Patterson would see him wide across the grass – dropping him back to 22nd place at the finish.
Showing improved pace in race two, where he would improve his fastest lap by more than a second, Jack fought hard throughout to fight his way through to 19th at the finish and was holding the same position in the early stages of race three when an engine issue brought about by the high temperatures forced him to retire.
Jack will now head for Thruxton – the closest thing to a home race – in a fortnight bidding to open his points accounts for the campaign.
“It was a really tough weekend with the high temperatures, and huge credit to the team for the work this put in in really difficult conditions,” he said.
“After the Friday shakedown and first practice, we were really struggling with the handling of the car but the team did a great job to solve the issue for second practice where it was transformed.
“I was pleased to get into the top 20 in qualifying as that put us in a position to try and push forwards in race one. It looked like we could pick up a solid result until the contact with Dexter undid all the good work.
“After getting up into the top 20 in race two, I was confident about what we could do in race three but then we had an issue outside our control that meant I had to bring the car in to retire.
“That was a shame but even though we haven’t got the points we’re chasing, we’ve shown solid pace again and hopefully we can push for that top 15 finish when we return to Thruxton.”