BLUNDELL: “WE HAVE MANY HIGHLIGHTS TO REFLECT ON”
MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square ended its second campaign in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship with a quintet of points-paying finishes as drivers Jake Hill and Ollie Jackson put on a strong showing at their home circuit of Brands Hatch last month (23/24 October).
The squad headed to the Kent circuit – which also marks the team’s local track – with high hopes for Manufacturers’/Constructors’ and overall glory, as Hill approached the final weekend in contention for the crown.
With Hill and Jackson qualifying 11th and 12th respectively, a frenetic start to the opening encounter saw the #48 machine climb to 11th, while his team-mate dropped back to 14th in the first-lap melee. Recovering to 12th, Hill was then in a four-way battle with Jackson now in tenth, the BMW of Tom Oliphant between the pair and Tom Ingram pressuring Hill from 13th. The Ford pair defended their positions to the flag, bagging a valuable double-points finish.
Ahead of the second race of the day, both drivers were fired up once again and ready to carve their way further into the top ten.
An unfortunate spin following drama on the first few corners saw Jackson’s Ford collected by several other cars, with the resulting damage ending his race on the opening tour.
Hill recovered from a slide at Druids to rejoin the pack in 15th, before setting his sights on the pack ahead. By lap eight, the 27-year-old was into the top ten, holding firm for the remaining ten laps for his second points finish of the day.
Starting tenth and 27th for the third race – and with the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ and overall titles now wrapped up by its rivals – the Kent-based squad’s gloves were off for the 30th and final round of the campaign as Hill and Jackson were determined to end the year on a high.
A superb start to the encounter saw Jackson into the points before the safety car made an appearance on lap five, while his team-mate had ascended to seventh.
Neither driver was taking any prisoners on the restart, steadily overtaking car after car. Hill propelled himself into fourth on lap 11 while Jackson got into 11th on the following tour, defending the spots for the remainder of the encounter to end the campaign with another points haul.
The 2021 season marked Hill’s best to date, as he concluded the year fifth in the overall title battle while, combined with Jackson’s efforts, Motorbase/Ford secured the runner-up position in its first year in the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ championship.
“What a way to end my most successful season in BTCC,” said Hill. “Whilst I’m disappointed not to take the title fight right to the wire, we fought really hard throughout the day and had some great battles. I’m really pleased to end it with a P4 result from where we started the day. It’s been a great year with everyone at MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square and Motorbase Performance – to have been in the title fight until the last event is a real achievement and I’d like to thank all of the team for their hard work.”
“As season finales go, this was one of the most dramatic I think I’ve experienced,” added Jackson. “We had a productive opening race with tenth and that set us up nicely for the rest of the day. Sadly, things didn’t go to plan in race two and that changed the face of our day. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the team for getting the car back into shape for race three – finishing 16 places higher than where we started was definitely a highlight to end the year. Thanks to all of the team.”
“I’d like to say a huge well done and thank you to everyone at Motorbase Performance and MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square,” concluded Sporting Director Mark Blundell. “We have many highlights to reflect on with two victories and ten podium finishes across the season. I’d also like to say a big thank you to all our valued partners for their continued support – we wouldn’t be able to fight at the front without them and their support is invaluable to us.”