MB MOTORSPORT ACCELERATED BY BLUE SQUARE ADDS TO PODIUM TALLY
MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square claimed its fourth podium finish of the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton, after a fantastic drive from Ollie Jackson during the second race of the weekend. A double-top ten in race one and a charge through the pack from team-mate Jake Hill in race three claimed the team further points as they leave the Norfolk circuit holding third place in the Teams’ standings.
Sunny skies and sweltering temperatures greeted the team early on Sunday morning, as preparations soon got underway for the opening race of the day. Starting sixth and seventh on the grid – following Gordon Shedden’s disqualification after post-qualifying scrutineering – the Motorbase Performance-run squad opted for Goodyear’s medium compound tyre and were confident of a strong result.
Carrying the maximum ballast of 75kg, as Standings leader heading into the weekend, Hill dropped to eighth place on the opening tour of the Norfolk circuit whilst the sister Ford Focus ST of Jackson was able to battle up to fourth place. Surrounded by soft tyre runners, the pair performed admirably in defending their positions and only dropping one place each to fifth for Jackson and ninth for Hill, recording the team’s second double top ten finish of the season.
At the height of the day, temperatures climbed tantalisingly close to 30° on the mercury as race two fast approached. Both cars opted to run the soft tyre, with Hill aiming to make progress through the order in his first race of the weekend in a much lighter Ford. Jackson got off to an excellent start which saw the #48 car jump up from fifth to third and challenge the Hyundai of Tom Ingram for second spot heading into the Wilson hairpin, while Hill gained on his starting position of ninth to eighth.
Locked in a tight battle with Ingram, Jackson was at the mercy of eventual-winner Ash Sutton, who passed the pair with ease in hot pursuit of Turkington up ahead. Sterling defensive work from the 37-year-old meant he was able to hold on to third place, momentarily losing the position before a fantastic move claimed the spot back once again to open his podium account for the season.
Hill had also looked set for another strong top-ten result when contact forced the 27-year-old wide, and the #24 machine tumbled down the order to 24th at the chequered flag.
Heading into race three, Jackson lined up in fifth with Hill back in P24 but with both driver’s looking forward. Jackson’s race began in fine form, rising to fourth on the first lap and remaining firmly in the battle for the lead throughout and into lap two. He was then the unfortunate victim of a rival’s drama ahead, being forced to slam on the brakes and take avoiding action. As a result, he dropped to sixth before being forced to retire on lap four with a front left issue, after contact with another car.
An excellent opening tour from Hill saw him climb eight places to 16th. He continued to make progress through the field, picking his rivals off one by one to arrive in the points-paying positions. A valiant comeback effort rewarded him with P12 at the finish, ending the day as the race’s big mover having gained 12 places from his starting position.
“Despite how the day ended, I’m delighted to claim my first podium of the season,” reflected Jackson. “We knew we had the pace to fight it out at the front and I’m very pleased that pace has been rewarded.
“We looked good all day and maximised everything we could out of the car. It’s a shame to end the weekend with a retirement but it was just an unlucky contact that nine times out of ten, you’d have gotten away with, but it wasn’t to be.”
“[Sunday] was a mixed day but we leave with our heads held high knowing we gave it everything we had,” added Hill. “Carrying the 75kg in the first race meant it always going to be a case of just trying to hold on, especially as we were the only medium runners in a sea of soft tyres.
“Race two was looking really good until I was forced off-track. From there, the tyres just lost all grip and we were sitting ducks. I was pleased with race three; to gain 12 places and a handful of points is pretty good going. As always, the team has been fantastic so we will regroup before we head to my home circuit at Brands Hatch.”
“I’m very proud of how hard the team battled today,” said Mark Blundell, the team’s Sporting Director. “Ollie’s podium performance was excellent and deserved – I’m delighted for him to get his first one of the season as I’m sure there’s many more to come. Jake did the very best he could with a brilliant performance in race one before an unfortunate race two. His fight through the field in the final race of the day was showed his class and what might’ve been. Once again, our thanks to the Motorbase Performance squad for all their efforts.”