Butcher was defending third from Ingram when they made contact as they ran side by side through the long Coram right-hander.
The panel-rubbing sent Butcher’s Motorbase Performance Ford Focus onto the wet grass on the outside of the corner, and he was unable to avoid spearing into the Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota Corolla of Ingram as it accelerated out of the final Murrays left-hander. Both cars went off the track, but rejoined the circuit for Butcher to finish fifth and Ingram eighth.
It was the second clash of the day for the pair – Butcher thumped into the back of Ingram at the hairpin as they fought for second place on the final lap of race two, the incident allowing Ash Sutton ahead of the Scot into third. Butcher had publicly said before the final race that he was sorry to Ingram for the second-race contact.
The ‘strike’ is one of three that BTCC drivers are allowed in a season before they are banished to the rear of the grid for the following race.
Talking about the collision in race three, Ingram told Motorsport.com: “I don’t really know what he was playing at – he lost his head. Down the back straight he was weaving like he was on an out-lap, then he braked really early under the bridge and pretty much stopped at the apex [for the Esses], so I ran into the back of him.
“We went through the Bombhole fine, and at Coram it looked like he was more interested in looking where I was than concentrating on where he was going. Then he had a big oversteer moment, and as he was on the other side [the outside] of the circuit I went inside, but then he turned back into my left-rear corner, which he didn’t need to do, because I was planning to let him have the inside [for Murrays] and getting a cutback out of the last corner.
“That put him on the grass, and then he was a passenger. The contact was unfortunate, but it all stemmed from him losing his head.”
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Butcher said: “There was a puddle out of the previous bend [onto the back straight], and I ran my left-rear through it, so I was just weaving down the back straight to check there was enough grip. Tom had a superior run through Coram and positioned himself on the inside.
“My plan was to try and hold it out around the outside and have the position for the final corner, but we were so close together and the lightest touch made me run wide. The trajectory of my car pushed me on the grass, and unfortunately I couldn’t slow down, and Tom’s car was directly in line.
“Looking back and viewing the footage, it was two hard racers going at it and it didn’t work out, and they [the stewards] thought it was 60:40 on me. I really hate being involved in incidents – it just doesn’t sit well with me. I love to race hard, but when you go across the grass and hit one of your competitors it’s a horrible feeling.”