Young star Jake Hill takes BTCC pole position at Knockhill
ROKiT MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill kicked off the second half of the 2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship in style by securing pole position at Knockhill.
The young BMW star set no fewer than three laps faster than all of his rivals, as his ultimate benchmark dipped under the existing race lap record, particularly impressive considering this year’s event is being run on the Goodyear medium compound rather than the quicker softer rubber.
NAPA Racing UK’s Ash Sutton proved to be the best of the rest as he hauled his Ford Focus onto the front row, whilst all five BMWs eventually ended up inside the top six.
Team BMW and Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport occupied the next four positions with Colin Turkington pipping Adam Morgan, Stephen Jelley and George Gamble respectively.
Local man Rory Butcher was next in the order as he blasted his Toyota GAZOO Racing UK car ahead of championship leader Tom Ingram in the Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com Hyundai.
The ever-popular Aiden Moffat was ninth for Laser Tools Racing, whilst NAPA Racing UK’s Dan Cammish rounded out the top ten.
The likes of Ricky Collard, Rick Parfitt and Nic Hamilton all endured spins during the session, but they weren’t the only ones to be caught out by the challenging tight and twisty circuit with Jason Plato, Turkington, Sutton and Ingram all experiencing wild moments.
Gordon Shedden (Halfords Racing with Cataclean) and Josh Cook (Rich Energy BTC Racing) were notable absentees from the top ten as the Honda duo struggled to find the ultimate pace over one lap.
Rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the 2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship take place at Knockhill in Scotland tomorrow, with the UK’s premier motorsport championship again benefitting from increased coverage via the ITV Network.
Coverage will get underway on ITV at 1200 for races one and two, before switching to ITV for the finale from 1455.
Jake Hill said: “I’m very, very pleased! It sort of reminds me of 2020 when Ash [Sutton] pipped me to it, so I returned the favour. It’s really nice to drive this BMW around Knockhill, it really was a ROKiT ship today! I think we’re more than two-tenths clear of anyone which, around here, is a pretty good effort!
“I’m proud of myself, I’m proud of the team and a huge thank you to ROKiT and everyone at MB Motorsport as well. I’m happy and I know that the guys and girls at WSR have done a faultless job!
“I’m very, very comfortable with the car. Obviously I’ve got to defend from [Ash] but I’m feeling good! It was good in the wet this morning as well when it was a bit damp, so overall I’m happy with everything to do with the car and the team – so I’m thrilled.”
Ash Sutton said: “The top six other than me are all rear-wheel drive cars, the next front-wheel drive car is in P7, so I’ll take that!
“Dan [Cammish] had his own programme to run [at the Goodyear tyre test] whereas we were a little bit tied up with Goodyear stuff, but in between that we managed to get on with the stuff we needed to. Every change we were doing – whether it was good or bad – ultimately we’re learning, which is what we needed. To roll all that learning and development out at a track that doesn’t really favour us, I’m going to take that.
“As much as a win would be great, we know how strong a rear-wheel drive car can be around here. I’ve been in that seat, I know how you handle that one! I’d like to just get some solid points to get that leg-up that we need, we’ve got a car to do that so we’ll just maximise what we can tomorrow.”
Colin Turkington said: “P3 is excellent. Congrats to Jake [Hill] as well, I think [WSR is] first, third and fifth. Knockhill has always been good territory for BMW, so this is probably the first time this season we’ve come to a track that’s been favourable in the past and it actually is now! That’s a good sign for tomorrow. It wasn’t an easy qualifying session, red flags, loads of yellow flags, gravel on the track… but I think we navigated it really well, and I had four laps on the last run which brought me up two positions, so it was quite a good session – I don’t think there’s much left.
“Going on the history, [the rear-wheel drive cars] should be better over the race, particularly with things like traction out of the hairpin. I imagine our race pace should be stronger. But I thought that at Croft! I thought that would come back to me in the second half and it didn’t really, this year’s just really hard to read. With using hybrid it’s almost like a blank sheet, we don’t quite know what’s going to happen. But, of course it’s going to be a good race up front with Jake [Hill] and Ash [Sutton] and Adam Morgan, so who can predict what’s going to happen!”
2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying – Knockhill
1. Jake HILL (GBR) ROKiT MB Motorsport 50.726s
2. Ash SUTTON (GBR) NAPA Racing UK +0.206s
3. Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.332s
4. Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +0.366s
5. Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +0.377s
6. George GAMBLE (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +0.386s
7. Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota GAZOO Racing UK +0.445s
8. Tom INGRAM (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +0.456s
9. Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.544s
10. Dan CAMMISH (GBR) NAPA Racing UK +0.547s
11. Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.611s
12. Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero +0.626s
13. Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.632s
14. Josh COOK (GBR) Rich Energy BTC Racing +0.647s
15. Ricky COLLARD (GBR) Toyota GAZOO Racing UK +0.687s
16. Tom CHILTON (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +0.689s
17. Ash HAND (GBR) CarStore Power Maxed Racing +0.741s
18. Michael CREES (GBR) CarStore Power Maxed Racing +0.783s
19. Jason PLATO (GBR) Rich Energy BTC Racing +0.787s
20. Jack BUTEL (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +0.842s
21. Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing +0.976s
22. Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +0.981s
23. Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan +0.991s
24. Jade EDWARDS (GBR) Rich Energy BTC Racing +0.997s
25. Dexter PATTERSON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.079s
26. Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan +1.103s
27. Rick PARFITT (GBR) Uptonsteel with Euro Car Parts Racing +1.340s
28. Will POWELL (GBR) Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero +1.814s
29. Nic HAMILTON (GBR) Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing +1.891s