MB MOTORSPORT ACCELERATED BY BLUE SQUARE: “IT’S ALL TO PLAY FOR”
MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square’s Thruxton podium run continued during the latest rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, with Jake Hill bagging second place during the opening race at the Hampshire circuit last month.
A mixed Saturday preceded Thruxton’s race day for the squad, with Hill securing a front-row result while team-mate Ollie Jackson lined up 20th for Round 16.
Both drivers made impressive starts in race one, with Hill in the thick of the fight for the lead. The 27-year-old got past the BMW of Tom Oliphant in a decisive move before despatching pole-sitter Dan Rowbottom to regain second spot. Hill went on to take second at the chequered flag, having held off the attacks from Oliphant, to secure his fourth podium finish of the campaign.
Jackson, meanwhile, made up an impressive four places during the opening tour but would drop down the order to 18th following a battle with Chris Smiley and Aiden Moffat, although a post-race penalty promoted the #48 machine to 17th.
In a now much heavier #24 Ford Focus ST, Hill dropped to third off the line in the second race of the day. The BRDC Superstar defended the final podium position from the advances of Rory Butcher’s Toyota, but neither of the pair could stop reigning champion Ash Sutton’s charge and Hill dropped to fourth before the conclusion of the opening tour.
After an entertaining battle between Hill and Butcher, the Kent racer would cross the line in fourth at the end of the 16-lap encounter.
Having initially lost places during the first lap, Jackson quickly made his way back up to 18th, where he would remain for the rest of the race.
The final race of the day was ended early for Surrey racer Jackson, with the 37-year-old retiring with just five laps remaining following an issue resulting in an off-track excursion.
Hill was quickly up to fourth place from his fifth-place reverse grid position after getting ahead during a brave move, whilst running three-wide with Oliphant and Butcher into the first corner.
With his progress hampered by a trio of safety car periods, Hill hounded Senna Proctor in a sprint to the finish, but was unable to catch the Honda man and settled for a second fourth-place finish of the day.
The team turns its attention to Croft (18/19 September) now, with little over a week until the next rounds of the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.
“Sadly, another difficult day for us as we never really got a chance to show what we could do,” reflected Jackson. “I was happy to make up some places in the first race and pushed hard in the second and third but couldn’t quite get the guys ahead. It was a shame to end the weekend with a retirement which adds to the disappointment. We’ll make use of this short couple of weeks and come back stronger at Croft.”
“After Saturday’s performance in qualifying, I was quite confident we could take full advantage of that and take it to the podium,” remarked Hill. “The car felt very good all day and I was thrilled to take P2 in race one for our best result of the season. Our main aim was to get on the podium, but we wanted a top five finish in each race at the very least so I was pleased with fourth in races two and three. The championship is really closing up with little to separate us from second to fifth so it’s all to play for as we head to Croft.”
“Well done to all of the team and everyone at Motorbase for another podium-scoring performance,” added Sporting Director Mark Blundell. “The margins were very close in all three races so the team should be pleased with their efforts and the results. Thruxton is a fast circuit where you’re on the edge all of the time so Jake’s podium is very well deserved. I feel for Ollie after his retirement but I know he’ll use that disappointment to bounce back at Croft.”