Report supplied by driver’s PR
DRIVER NEWS 10 AUGUST, 2015 – After a lengthy summer break, action resumed in the MSA Formula Championship last weekend. Jersey driver Jack Butel was back up to speed and made a breakthrough in his racing career with a fine top 10 result, netting ninth place in the second race of the weekend. The JHR Developments driver also claimed two solid race finishes with a 17th and 16th to bookend his weekend.
Last time out at Croft in June, Butel used the round as a learning weekend as he got used to his new car and team. After a solid test at Donington in July, Jack was buoyant ahead of rounds 16,17 and 18 of the FIA approved MSA Formula at Snetterton in Norfolk. The round was to bring Eastern Promise for the Channel Islander as he was to claim his best result to date and his first top-ten finish of the year – a position he had yearned for since he started his 2015 campaign.
In Practice and Qualifying, Jack initially struggled for performance, but with the help of the team, Butel was able to adjust to the Snetterton 300 layout and establish a good base set-up for the weekend. Qualifying would see him line-up 21st towards the back of the pack, but this was an opportunity for Jack to shine in the Snetterton sunshine.
Sporting the now infamous JHR team colours, the St Saviour resident was optimistic ahead of the weekend’s action. After making a trademark good start, Butel flew around the 2.99 mile Norfolk venue gaining a handful of places as the race unfolded, settling for 17th at the fall of the flag.
Snetterton Circuit based just outside of Norwich was to be the host of glorious summer weather as well as incredible on-track action to kick-start the second half of the year. The highly exciting one-make single-seater, Ford Eco-Boost powered series is the breeding ground for some of the best young drivers in the world who fight tooth and nail for positions in the highly competitive field. The stars of tomorrow were up first on the Sunday timetable ahead of the main act –the hugely popular British Touring Car Championship which always attracts a sizeable crowd at every venue it rolls into. This is a perfect platform and chance for the young-guns to impress and shine on a large stage with thousands watching trackside and hundreds of thousands watching the live uninterrupted action on ITV4.
From the eighth row of the grid, Butel rocketed off the start line in his turbo-charged missile and overtook several rivals going into the first corner – and after several laps the former De La Salle student had put seven cars behind him. A much needed safety car bunched the field up allowing the 19-year-old another opportunity to go on the attack. The safety car peeled off with just seven minutes of the race remaining. Jack held 12th and could sniff further places. An oily substance was dropped on one of the high-speed corners at Snetterton which added another challenge in the summer heat. A mature drive by Jack and a tight line on the slippery corner prevailed as he watched more experienced rivals visit the grass run-off area – allowing him to scalp further positions. As the clock struck zero, Butel crossed the line in ninth position, bagging his first top 10 result of the season in the process.
Even ITV4 commentator Richard John Neil was delighted for Butel as he read the results to the hundreds of thousands watching on screens across the country – “Terrific result and a great drive by the Channel Islander to claim his first top 10 finish of the season.”
The final race of the day saw the grid line-up according to the second fastest qualifying position and after a difficult Saturday the good work from the previous race was undone as Butel had to start from the back of the grid. Undeterred Jack claimed a few more positions to collect 16th in the final race of the day.
Quote from Snetterton weekend
“Snetterton was to be my first proper racing weekend with JHR [Developments] as Croft was an extended test exercise. Qualifying was disappointing as we had gearbox issues, which meant we only got two flying laps right at the end of the session and with everything so tight we started towards the back.
“It was great to finally duck into the top 10. In fact it was amazing as everything clicked, I drove well and the car was brilliant. With the oil or coolant dropped down towards the end of the race I kept my head, took a tight line and drove through other people’s mistakes and ninth was a fine reward!
“Looking ahead to Knockhill – I have never raced there before so I will be going in with an open mind and will look to hoover up as much knowledge before we head to Scotland. I want to now be consistently in the top 10 and push on to beat ninth place at the next round.”
The next stop on the MSA Formula Championship calendar will see Jack head to Scotland on the 22/23 August to tackle the picturesque Knockhill Circuit. With a solid top-ten now in the bag, Jack and the team will look to continue the momentum and become a regular feature at the sharp end of the grid.