THIRD place in the drivers' standings midway through the season has left Rory Butcher in "a great place to fight" for touring car glory.

But the 33-year-old insists he and his Motorbase Performance team will not look any further ahead than the next race as they bid to keep the pressure on the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship leaders.

Having enjoyed a two-week break after ending the last race weekend at Knockhill in triumph with victory in the final race of the weekend, Butcher resumes his challenge for the title this weekend at Thruxton, Hampshire, for rounds 13, 14 and 15.

On the back of a memorable event at his home circuit – which also included fifth- and 10th-place finishes – Butcher heads south with 139 points to his name, 33 behind second-placed Ash Sutton, and a further 10 adrift of Colin Turkington.

It's shaping up to be an exciting battle at the top of the standings and the Fifer, whose father, Derek, is the owner and CEO of Knockhill, believes he and his team are firmly in the mix after a "fantastic" first four race weekends in Motorbase's Ford Focus.

"The only cars ahead of us at the moment are rear-wheel drive and I think, potentially, they have had a slight advantage over the front-wheel drive cars," Butcher explained.

"We're now coming into a different stage in the season. There's different circuits, the conditions are going to be different as we're getting into a colder time of the year and, you never know, the advantage might switch back to front-wheel drives.

"It's very close out there and we're definitely looking to take it to the likes of Turkington and Sutton as we head into the second half of the year.

"We're in a great position. Our whole focus this year has been on challenging for the main drivers' title. We're third – we're not first at the moment – but there's a long way to go.

"It's important that we keep our focus, keep putting the pressure on and getting the results as we are, and you just don't know where we'll be in four rounds' time.

"We're in a great place to fight."

Butcher's victory at Knockhill – the second successive year he's taken a chequered flag there – was also his second race win of the season and provided some joy at the end of what he admitted had been a "challenging" weekend.

"I definitely went into my home race with higher expectations but, once we got into practice, it was quite clear we just lacked the edge compared to our competitors," he continued.

"We ended up 13th overall in practice, which was a bit of a shock, but we managed to put down a good lap time in qualifying which got us up to P6.

"I think we were all hoping for more. I'd just put it on pole position in the last two events, at Brands Hatch and Oulton Park, and coming up to Knockhill, that's a circuit I dominated all practice sessions and qualifying last year in the Honda.

"I felt like I was in a position to challenge for pole position again but, like I say, it was quite quick on the Saturday that we realised that wasn't going to be possible, so how do we make the most of what we have and get the best result we can?"

Fifth place in race one, which including passing another championship rival in Dan Cammish, was followed by a frustrating time of things in race two, that started with Butcher ending up on the grass after the start line.

A move on Jake Hill a couple of laps later failed to pay off, pushing the Fifer further down the order that led to a 10th-place finish, but that disappointment served as motivation for the convincing victory that followed.

"Every race is a learning experience," he said.

"We ended up getting the reverse grid draw and I was on the front row for race three after P11 was kicked out the hat. I had been given another chance so I completely changed my mindset and had a really fantastic race. I managed to get off the line and lead into turn one, and pull a gap of six seconds, which is a great way to end the weekend.

"Sometimes you need to have these moments to remind yourself that you can't always control yourself, and that sometimes you slip up and make mistakes, but just as long as you learn from them and move on to improve.

"I've got a great team of guys around me who sat me down and said, look, this is not the Rory we're used to seeing. Take 10 minutes out, chill out, no pressure for race three. With their help, I went into that race with a much more relaxed frame of mind and it paid off.

"That's two years on the bounce I've had a race win, which was great. With the new car, we've won a race already this year, but it was kind of gifted to us because the car in front was excluded. The fact we've now done that on the road is another box ticked for the new car and for my career with the new team.

"A race win at Knockhill means more to me than at any other circuit. It's just a shame that the fans weren't there to celebrate with me; that would've been incredible, but the marshals at the side of the track were waving the Scottish flags and that kind of made up for the lack of crowd in some way."

This weekend's Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship action will be live on ITV4.