A SIXTH podium of the season helped Rory Butcher remain firmly in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship hunt at the weekend.

The 33-year-old scored a third-place finish in the final race of the weekend at Thruxton, Hampshire, on Sunday to stay in touch at the top of the standings as the competition heads for Silverstone National.

Butcher, who also placed sixth and fifth in races one and two respectively, admitted that rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the 2020 season had been tough but believes securing points on "bad days" for his Motorbase Performance Ford Focus is a major plus as the season moves towards the final straight.

Having left his home circuit of Knockhill with victory in the final race last time out at the end of August, the Fife race ace felt he and his team were "in a great position" to challenge for the title, heading to Thruxton third in the standings.

After finishing sixth in qualifying, Butcher at one stage found himself ahead of the top two drivers – Colin Turkington, who failed to score for the first time this season, and Ash Sutton – in a race that saw Tom Ingram take the chequered flag.

However, while Turkington tumbled down the order after suffering a misfire that required pit repairs, Butcher had to settle for sixth as Sutton took fifth, with Ingram, Dan Cammish, Matt Neal and Adam Morgan completing the top four.

Ingram completed another victory in race two as Butcher took fifth place, which he followed with a podium in race three.

In an enthralling battle with both Sutton and Ingram, the contest edged towards a dramatic climax when Sutton went around the outside of Butcher at the Complex.

However, he came close to contact with the Toyota of Ingram but, when the dust settled, the trio's positions remained unchanged and allowed Butcher to cross the line in third place.

The results have moved him on to 175 points in the drivers' standings, 34 behind leader Sutton, in fourth place with 12 rounds of the championship remaining.

Racing continues this weekend at Silverstone and, speaking to Motorbase Performance's Facebook channel, Butcher explained: "It was definitely a hard weekend in the sense we weren't fighting for pole positions, and necessarily fighting for race wins and podiums, in the first half of the weekend.

"We've come away with two strong finishes in race one and two, and then obviously the podium there.

"We've never been to Thruxton before so it's been a big learning curve and, to be honest, we've been chasing the car a bit all weekend. To come away with a sixth and a fifth, and also a podium, is unbelievable.

"On its bad days, we're still scoring good points, and that's a testament to how good the car is so we'll sit down, look at what we believe Silverstone will need, and I'm hopeful we'll roll out the box and it'll be closer to the sharp end at Silverstone.

"We're still in there and I think today was a day of bagging the points. I was sitting on the grid in every race thinking, 'Well, I don't know if I can challenge for podiums or go firing through the field, but what I will do is still be coming home with some points'.

"It's been an important day."

Live coverage of Sunday's racing will be broadcast live on ITV2 from 11am.