HILL READY TO BUILD ON BEST SEASON SO FAR
MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square’s Jake Hill enjoyed his best campaign to date during the latest Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, with the 27-year-old battling to three points-finishes in the season finale at Brands Hatch last month (23/24 October) and bagging fifth in the overall Drivers’ Standings.
The Ford Focus ST driver headed to the Kent circuit fourth in the table, with 45 points separating him from championship leader Ash Sutton meaning he was still mathematically in contention for the crown.
Hill looked strong early on during the 30-minute qualifying session, despite carrying 48kg of success ballast, but an incredibly close session saw him take 11th on the grid for the initial race, just ahead of team-mate Ollie Jackson.
Struggling off the line for the opener, Hill lost three places before passing the Hyundai of Tom Ingram on the following lap to move back into 13th.
A fierce race-long battle ensued with points-rival Ingram and, once the pair swept past Stephen Jelley with three laps remaining, Hill would continue to hold off the #80 machine to take a well-earned 12th place.
With a lighter #24 Ford for the second race, Hill made a stronger start and was immersed in a battle with Ingram into Druids on the opening lap when a tangle for the pair saw the BRDC Superstar drop down the order.
An impressive recovery drive saw Hill make his way back through the pack on the following laps, and the Kent racer was back into the top ten by the sixth tour, a position he would defend to the chequered flag, despite attacks from the CUPRA of Jack Goff behind.
Hill started the final race of the 2021 season from tenth on the grid, with perennial rival Ingram directly behind him. Hill lost out to the Hyundai man as well as Goff off the line, before retaking the position in a daring move at Hawthorns on the opening lap.
Taking advantage of the battling cars ahead, Hill put his Motorbase Performance-run machine into seventh by lap four, prior to the safety car being called out.
Four laps later, when racing resumed, Hill caught and overtook polesitter Jelley before closing on Josh Cook. As the Honda man and Tom Chilton ran side-by-side in the midst of a tussle for position, Hill took advantage of the squabbling pair and swept past into fourth place.
Although he quickly pulled away with an eye on the podium positions ahead, the MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square driver would have to settle for fourth place at the end of the 18-lap contest, bringing home his 14th top-five finish of the campaign.
“Race one was hard work. We didn’t really have the balance in the car we hoped, so to be able to hold Tom [Ingram] behind despite that was a result really! I had a better start in race two but then at Druids I ended up going backwards, so I was really pleased to get to tenth.
“The car was hooked up, it just transformed for race three, so I knew I could genuinely challenge and was determined to make my way through. That last race just summed up the BTCC. Absolutely brilliant, loads of overtakes, some pretty bruising stuff but a great finish to a just brilliant season.”
“It’s been a long, tough season so a massive thank you to everyone in the team and my partners as well as all my friends and family who have believed in me more than anyone.
“This has been my best season by far. From Thruxton in May when I had three podiums and led the championship, we never dropped out of the top five. We’ve had an amazing run and I cannot wait to see what 2022 will bring.”