Hill ends on a high in battling Brands Hatch finale
Jake Hill completed a debut Trade Price Cars Racing campaign with a season-best qualifying and three impressive races at Brands Hatch in the final rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.
The #24 Audi driver accumulated one Independents’ and an overall fastest lap as well as a points-scoring finish during the closing event of the 2019 BTCC season, on the way to fourth in Independent Drivers’ standings and helping his team to the same spot in the Independent Teams’ running.
A soaking wet qualifying session saw Hill slither to sixth overall. With the skies overcast for Sunday’s opening race and the circuit still slippery, Hill started well – ending the opening lap fifth having passed Tom Oliphant early on.
As the conditions worsened, both Hill and AmD stablemate Rory Butcher made progress. The 25-year-old slipped by championship leader Colin Turkington into a provisional podium position, before both Butcher and Hill passed leader of the pack, Ash Sutton, to run first and second.
With just four laps to go and a podium looking likely, Hill suddenly slowed – forced to pit when a mechanical issue caused the car to lose power.
“The car was working so well as it often does in mixed conditions,” said Hill. “Both Rory and I were quicker than the rear-wheel drive cars. I felt we could have challenged for another win and I was really deflated for the whole team as they worked so hard, and we were chasing down Chilton for third in Independents’.”
Hill gambled on slicks, starting 24th for race two on a greasy track. Ultimately, the circuit took longer than expected to dry, but a brave final lap saw the BRDC member once again take fastest lap, but this time fastest overall and 19th at the chequered flag.
“It was the right call at the time but the temperature meant it just didn’t dry quickly enough – the car was good though, and it’s nice to have my first overall fastest lap.
For the final race conditions were dry, with Hill looking to give his all to work into the points.
A frenetic opening lap saw Hill bundled wide and end the opening lap in 22nd, before working his way forward in the following laps, also benefiting from Tom Chilton and Senna Proctor dropping out.
The retirement of Dan Cammish’s Honda saw Hill well in the points in 13th before the #23 Audi S3 driver pulled off a bold move at Hawthorns to pass the remaining Team Dynamics Honda, finishing the race in 12th and securing fourth in the Independent Drivers’ standings. This marked Hill’s 18th points-scoring finish, as well as the tenth event in which Hill had scored points – no mean feat in his debut season with Trade Price Cars Racing.
“The car was good again, I had some good battles and I was determined to get past Neal at the end, so overall it’s been another good weekend in terms of performance, and a fantastic year overall.
“We have had a podium on our debut, taken two wins on the road and one that definitely stuck – I know I’ve got the trophies! Winning my first BTCC race was immense – plus we scored points every weekend, qualified strongly and sealed three fastest laps over the year.
“The guys at AmD Tuning deserve their success – winning the Independent Drivers’ with Rory (Butcher) and the teams, plus the Jack Sears Trophy is incredible.
“Huge thanks to everyone involved. As always, my Dad has been there working as hard as ever, I will always be grateful for all he’s done.
“Also, it’s been so cool having the legend that is Mark Blundell as my teammate. He is an incredible guy, and it’s been an honour racing with him.
“I can’t wait to go again in 2020!”