RORY BUTCHER described claiming his maiden victory as "an amazing feeling" as he accelerated to a superb start in the 2019 British Touring Car Championship.

The Knockhill-based driver, at the start of his second full season competing in the UK's flagship motorsport series, stormed to his first podium finish in the final race of a breathless curtain-raiser on Sunday.

Rounds one, two and three of the competition – which will come to West Fife in September – got under way at Brands Hatch Indy and it proved to be a fruitful start for the Cobra Sport AmD Autoaid/RCIB Insurance racer.

After placing 11th in qualifying, Butcher moved up one place in the opening race to grab six points, before moving further up the standings to eighth in race two.

But it was in the day's final encounter that the 32-year-old enjoyed his finest hour, claiming victory after Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher's Tom Chilton was handed a post-race penalty. Although he crossed the line first on the road, an appeal after the race adjudged Chilton to have gained an advantage during contact with Halfords Yuasa Racing's Matt Neal, after which he failed to give the position back during the race.

The addition of five seconds to Chilton's overall race time then handed Butcher victory, which was aided by contact between Neal's Honda and Team Parker Racing's Stephen Jelly at the Clearways corner, which allowed the Fifer to charge past them both.

"It's not the way you would like to win but you need a little bit of luck in the BTCC, and I'll take it," Butcher commented.

"I'm so pleased to get the first win for AmD and it's an amazing feeling to have a BTCC victory to my name. We didn't qualify in the top 10 but my strategy was to just chip away in the races.

"It's my first podium – hopefully it's the first of many. We need to qualify a bit higher because, when you're at the front, it's most definitely easier. We've got the speed and the race craft; we can do it."

Before the championship revved into gear, Butcher received a boost when Ladbrokes announced that they had agreed a sponsorship deal with him.

He added: "I'm still learning the craft of BTCC but I feel my prospects are good.

"It's about piecing together a full season where you are really building towards a championship. A lot of things have to fall into place – you need good engineers, a good car, my driving has to be on-point and you need to stay out of trouble.

"I’m really looking forward to the start of the season. We’ve got a really competitive package with the people I’ve got around me in the team and the car I have beneath me."

Butcher, who leads the Jack Sears Trophy, is fourth overall in the standings with 34 points. Rounds four, five and six of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship takes place at Donington Park on April 27-28.