Hill storms to Dunlop #ForeverForward honours
RCIB Insurance Racing’s Jake Hill showcased his capabilities as he stormed to the latest Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship #ForeverForward honours – gaining a total of 21 positions with a feisty string of performances over the three rounds at Oulton Park.
A busy weekend’s action in Cheshire left Rob Austin at the top of the overall Dunlop #ForeverForward standings after four events, with just one point in it to second placed man Rob Collard who also had a standout weekend at Oulton – carving his way through the pack on three occasions and leaping from 25th to 6th in race three.
Hill went even better though in his Team HARD-prepared Toyota Avensis. Round 11 was looking promising for the Kent racer, mixing it in the points in 13th before contact with another Toyota, that of Rob Austin, saw him shuffled down the order. This put Hill on the back foot for Round 12, forcing him to start from 26th on the grid. It did offer up an opportunity for the 22-year-old to slice his way through the pack, and he duly grasped that chance with both hands.
Hill systematically picked his way through the mid-field to an impressive 9th place for his best ever finish in the BTCC, securing the 8th quickest lap of the race in the process. In fact, he crossed the line just 0.9 seconds behind series legend Jason Plato who brought his Subaru home in third.
Delving into the Hill’s season so far, pace and promise have been more than evident. He has been squabbling for top ten finishes on several occasions – secure points-paying positions – no mean feat in the BTCC. Circumstances have often transpired against the young racer, however.
Running in 10th at the season-opener at Brands Hatch, the BRDC Rising Star suffered a fuel pump sensor problem in race two – a double-whammy since that finishing position, it transpired, later yielded a reverse grid pole for race three.
At Donington Park, starting from 10th on the grid after a strong performance in qualifying, Hill blasted off the line and into eighth by turn one past Matt Neal and Jack Goff. A puncture, however, brought proceedings to a halt for the Tunbridge Wells man.
It was a similar story at Thruxton as Hill got caught up in that race-ending melee on the exit of Club, once more putting pay to what was looking like a solid top-ten finish in race one.
Dunlop’s #ForeverForward honours for Oulton Park will offer some solace for Hill as he looks to capitalise on the promise he’s shown in 2016 so far.
Dunlop #ForeverForward drivers of the weekend
1 Jake Hill 21
2 Rob Collard 19
3 Rob Austin 18
Dunlop #ForeverForward overall standings
1 Rob Austin 62
2 Rob Collard 61
3 Martin Depper 52