PODIUM POSITIVITY FOR HOPEFUL HILL
Jake Hill is aiming for further success at Thruxton this weekend (28/29 August), the scene of the MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square driver’s hat-trick of podium finishes earlier this year, as the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship heads to the Hampshire circuit for its second visit of 2021.
Hill, who took his fourth podium of the campaign during the series’ annual visit to Knockhill, is currently fifth in the Drivers’ Standings, after adding to his points tally in Scotland last time out.
Qualifying fifth on the 1.27-mile circuit, the preliminary contest saw the 27-year-old defend his top five spot from reigning champion Ash Sutton before the Infiniti man squeezed past on the exit of the chicane.
Hill was then under pressure from Sutton’s Laser Tools Racing team-mate Aiden Moffat for the remainder of the race, but held position to finish sixth, despite a late lunge across the line from the Scot.
Making up a place off the line, Hill set his sights on the podium in race two. By lap seven he was up into fourth place, before passing the BTC Racing Honda of Josh Cook at the hairpin three laps later.
A Safety Car period late on saw backmarker Rick Parfitt end up in front of the Ford and, on the restart, the #62 Hyundai struggled to keep up with the pace of the leaders, hampering Hill’s attack until Parfitt was able to move aside.
The BRDC Superstar edged away from Cook and was closing in on the battling Sutton and Colin Turkington ahead when the BMW driver ran wide and Sutton swept into the lead. Hill pressed on during the final lap, ultimately finishing a hard-fought third – his 13th BTCC podium.
Starting the final reverse-grid encounter from seventh, Hill was running in fifth by the end of the opening tour. Having moved into fourth spot, the Kent racer began attacking for a second podium of the day but lost out as both Gordon Shedden and Sutton got past the #24 machine.
A combination of braking issues and damage from an off-track excursion on lap 20 forced Hill to pit and retire with just three laps remaining, bringing his run of six consecutive points-finishes to an end.
“The car was really good in race one, but Ash just had a little better run on me, I couldn’t hold him back. Then, in race two, it was frustrating being held up because I could have been close enough to benefit from Colin running wide – although I’m still really pleased to get back on the podium again!”
“It was really great to be able to keep Gordon behind for most of race three – he is ‘Mr. Knockhill’! However, I feel so sorry for all of MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square and Motorbase Performance [for the retirement] as they were brilliant all weekend.
“We come away still very much in a good place points-wise, and with some of our best circuits coming up in the second half of the year. I loved it in Scotland, but now we start again at Thruxton – let’s hope it goes as well as it did there in May!”
The BTCC resumes at Thruxton this weekend (28/29 August) for Rounds 16, 17 and 18, with qualifying shown live online at itv.com/btcc on Saturday from 1435.
All three 16-lap races, plus support race action, will be shown live on ITV4 on Sunday from 1110 with ITV’s highlights programmes with all the key goings-on due in the coming weeks.