Esports
25 Jun
-
25 Jun
Event finished
28 Jun
-
28 Jun
Event finished
Formula E
R
Berlin ePrix I
05 Aug
-
05 Aug
Next event in
33 days
R
Berlin ePrix II
06 Aug
-
06 Aug
Next event in
34 days
Formula 1
02 Jul
-
05 Jul
FP1 in
13 Hours
:
27 Minutes
:
03 Seconds
R
Styrian GP
09 Jul
-
12 Jul
FP1 in
7 days
MotoGP
17 Jul
-
19 Jul
FP1 in
14 days
R
Andalusian GP
24 Jul
-
26 Jul
Next event in
21 days
NASCAR Cup
28 Jun
-
28 Jun
Event finished
R
Indianapolis
05 Jul
-
05 Jul
Race in
3 days
IndyCar
06 Jun
-
06 Jun
Event finished
02 Jul
-
04 Jul
Practice in
19 Hours
:
57 Minutes
:
03 Seconds
WEC
13 Aug
-
15 Aug
Next event in
41 days
R
Bahrain
19 Nov
-
21 Nov
Next event in
139 days
Supercars
26 Jun
-
28 Jun
Event finished
17 Jul
-
19 Jul
Next event in
14 days

Iran airstrikes force BTCC racer's Dubai 24 absence

shares
comments
Iran airstrikes force BTCC racer's Dubai 24 absence
By:
Jan 10, 2020, 4:29 PM

British Touring Car Championship race winner Rory Butcher was forced to miss the Dubai 24 Hours after his flight was diverted to avoid airstrikes over Iraq.

The reigning BTCC Independents Trophy winner, who last contested the Creventic-organised event in 2016, was due to share the #429 Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 with team owner Nathan Freke, Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke and William Paul.

But the air strikes launched at two US military bases in Iraq, in response to the US drone killing of senior Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, prompted Butcher’s flight to be re-directed north-west to Turkish capital Istanbul.

Matters were compounded when his connecting flight to Dubai the following morning was delayed by a technical fault on the runway, causing Butcher and Paul to miss the entirety of free practice running.

Having set no timed laps before qualifying, both Butcher and Paul were forced to miss the race and return home. In their absence, Freke and Gordon-Colebrook have been joined in #429 by Daren Jorgensen, Ben Hurst and Angus Fender, who are also driving Century’s #430 car with Freke and Brett Storm.

“It was all going smoothly until we got to 20 minutes from the Iraqi border,” Butcher told Motorsport.com.

“It was the middle of the night, and the captain came across the radio to say ‘you may have noticed that we’ve done a U-turn, we’re going to be landing in Istanbul and then update you on the situation’. It was quite concerning but the main thing is that BA [British Airways] did the right thing.

“I think we were just in a small window of time where flights had to go and land at nearby airports, because there was a safe route down past Egypt and then though Saudi Arabia. I think a couple of hours later we could have re-directed our route around the problem, but we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“It’s certainly frustrating to not be able to race in the event and be sitting home watching it, but the whole thing was out of our hands.

“Every stage after that moment we had to do the U-turn went wrong, it was just one thing after another. To just get on the runway and then for the captain to come over the tannoy to say that they’ve got a technical fault, it was just like ‘man, this isn’t going to happen!’

“There was no way to fulfill our laps before the event so we had to bail and turn around. I’ve had some small self-inflicted travel nightmares, but I think this has got to take the trophy!”

Butcher has yet to announce his main race programme this year, but said he was close to confirming a deal to remain in the BTCC by the end of January.

With four and a half hours of the race complete, the #77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan currently being driven by Patrick Kujala is leading from the #4 Black Falcon Mercedes of Hubert Haupt. 

Next article
Cameron gets more Honda IGTC outings for 2020

Previous article

Cameron gets more Honda IGTC outings for 2020

Next article

Audi reveals drivers for Bathurst 12 Hour assault

Audi reveals drivers for Bathurst 12 Hour assault
Load comments

About this article

Series BTCC , Endurance
Drivers Rory Butcher
Author James Newbold