For the second successive season, Jack Butel was left to wonder what might have been at Silverstone after strong pace went unrewarded in the penultimate meeting of his 2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship campaign.
The Jersey racer made the trip to the Northamptonshire circuit on the back of a successful weekend at Thruxton where he had scored his first Jack Sears Trophy victory of the year.
That provided the 26-year-old with a huge boost in confidence going into the Silverstone meeting at a circuit where he had produced one of his most competitive displays in 2021, all but matching the lap times being posted by his race-winning team-mate Tom Ingram.
On the pace in free practice, where he lapped on the fringes of the top 20, Jack was then on form in qualifying where he briefly ran as high as 16th before eventually ending up with the 18th best time.
That marked the best qualifying performance of his touring car career to date and meant he would start the opening race ahead of Jason Plato; the driver with more BTCC wins than anyone else.
Somehow retaining his position through the lap one squabbles when the action kicked off, Jack had slipped to 20th as part of a large gaggle of cars fighting for position before a chaotic eighth lap.
Having been squeezed between the cars of Jade Edwards and Aiden Moffat at Becketts, Jack then found himself tagged by Sam Osborne as the field concertinaed together at Brooklands and was hit by Colin Turkington’s BMW – breaking the rear suspension on his car and putting to the back of the grid for race two.
Forced to start race two from the very back of the grid, Jack was able to quickly make up ground when the action kicked off and had climbed to 23rd before the safety car was called out on lap six.
Making up a further spot when the race went under caution for the recovery of another car later on, Jack crossed the line in 22nd spot having shown the pace to run much higher up the order.
Further progress followed in race three as Jack again displayed top ten pace but the close nature of the racing around the short National layout meant he had to settle for 19th when the chequered flag dropped.
“I think this weekend kind of summed up the way my season has gone,” he admitted. “Things started really well with the performance on Saturday, and I was delighted to continue my recent run of strong qualifying performances with my best result to date.
“I knew from last season that our race pace would be strong, and I felt confident that we could build on where we were starting and push for some points. I managed to make up some ground early on in race one but then it all got a bit feisty in the pack and I got a big hit in the rear quarter than broke the suspension arm – so that was game over.
“Although we had a quick car, coming from the back of the field was always going to be a challenge when the lap times are so close, but we made progress in both race two and three to get back into the top 20 again.
“Had it not been for the contact in race one then it would have been a totally story at the end of the weekend, and I genuinely feel we could have been challenging for points in all three races. Our pace was up there with the top ten, but I didn’t have luck on my side and as my season has shown, you need a bit of luck in this game.
“It’s a real shame when I had a number of guests and sponsors along cheering me on, and I have to thank them all for their ongoing support. With one more round to go at Brands Hatch, I’m going to take confidence from the speed I’ve shown this weekend and hopefully end my season on a high in a few weeks.”