HILL FIGHTS BACK TO WIN KNOCKHILL THRILLER
Jake Hill won a modern-day classic after the ROKiT MB Motorsport man eventually got the better of reigning champion Ash Sutton in the opening Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race at Knockhill.
It was status quo off the start line as pole-sitter Hill held on for much of the opening lap, but it was anything but thereafter as NAPA Racing UK’s Sutton produced a startling move at the beginning of the second tour.
With the rear-wheel drive cars notoriously taking slightly longer to bring their front tyres up to racing temperature, Sutton knew his hopes rested on taking an early opportunity as he blasted around the outside of the #24 BMW through turn one.
The pair remained inseparable during the opening exchanges – with the Team BMW duo of Colin Turkington and Stephen Jelley looking on immediately behind – before contact followed at the final hairpin on lap five.
Sutton was heavy onto the brakes into the slowest corner on the tight and twisty track, whilst Hill misjudged slightly and hit the leader’s Ford Focus, before further contact followed on the next lap.
It was a largely clean fight and the two took the battle up a further notch on lap eight as they swapped places twice, but the faster BMW of Hill eventually got the job done shortly before mid-distance to take his second win of the season.
Sutton’s defensive drive was far from over, however, as he was again hit from behind – this time by Turkington – as the former held on to second until the finish.
Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport’s George Gamble continued his impressive start to life in the BTCC by claiming fifth, ahead of championship leader Tom Ingram in his Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com Hyundai.
Gordon Shedden (Halfords Racing with Cataclean) got the better of a family tussle with Rory Butcher (Toyota GAZOO Racing UK) to take eighth, whilst Dan Cammish (NAPA Racing UK) and Ricky Collard (Toyota GAZOO Racing UK) completed the top ten positions.
Jake Hill said: “It was a pretty frantic start to that race! It was just a bit of a messy one, ultimately we always struggle with those first few laps with our front tyres and Ash [Sutton] did a great move into turn one and got it done. I stayed with him for a couple of laps and the car just came alive. It was on fire at that point. So much speed underneath me. So obviously I got after Ash again and it was hard, I didn’t mean to hit him into the hairpin, he braked so early and I just couldn’t stop the car so I just ran into the back of him. Ultimately I didn’t gain anything from that but I was able to make my move a couple of laps later and got to take my win.
“It’s tricky, especially when you have quite a good start but Ash is already on you ready to attack. It’s difficult, but lesson learnt and I’m ready for race two now and hopefully my ROKiT ship will continue to be fast throughout the day.
“I’m back on the P1 spot for the next race. Obviously, the hybrid is going to be adjusted now so I just need to get used to that because the last race I won in the BMW was race three so I didn’t get used to having no hybrid in the race after. I’m just looking forward to it now and a huge thank you to ROKiT MB Motorsport.”
Ash Sutton said: “I tell you what, I think I need to see a chiropractor after that one! We picked up a little bit of damage with the big contact from Jake into the last corner and then that topped off by Colin [Turkington] as well. I gave it my best and took it to him at the start. Ultimately, did we have enough to put it up there at the end, probably not. Jake [Hill] looked strong, he looked strong in qualifying. I accepted my battle with that one and focussed on Colin.
“It was one of those, we’re a little bit stronger at the start and I was like ‘well this is a chance that I can’t let go’ so I got stuck in! We had a few good switchback moves as well which was nice but we just had to let him go eventually.”
Colin Turkington said: “I didn’t want Donington Park all over again! The first few laps were definitely entertaining from my seat and going through Duffus on about lap three or four, Jake [Hill] was off the road, and I could’ve been up the inside of him into turn three but I said, ‘no on you go and scrap away’ and was sort of hoping that I could pick up the pieces.
“I’m pleased to have good pace in the race, I’m still wanting a bit more, but I know where we’re lacking a bit so hopefully we can improve that a bit for the next race. It was only one corner that it was struggling a bit, then you spend the rest of the lap trying to get that time back. But a good start to the day, a one, three, four for BMW makes it a great day so far!”
2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Knockhill
1. Jake HILL (GBR) ROKiT MB Motorsport 24 laps
2. Ash SUTTON (GBR) NAPA Racing UK +3.640s
3. Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +3.784s
4. Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +5.979s
5. George GAMBLE (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +6.363s
6. Tom INGRAM (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +6.933s
7. Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +13.008s
8. Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota GAZOO Racing UK +13.984s
9. Dan CAMMISH (GBR) NAPA Racing UK +14.242s
10. Ricky COLLARD (GBR) Toyota GAZOO Racing UK +14.381s
11. Tom CHILTON (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +15.296s
12. Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero +16.210s
13. Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +17.124s
14. Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +18.220s
15. Josh COOK (GBR) Rich Energy BTC Racing +21.591s
16. Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing +23.599s
17. Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan +34.493s
18. Rick PARFITT (GBR) Uptonsteel with Euro Car Parts Racing +34.803s
19. Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +36.371s
20. Dexter PATTERSON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +37.039s
21. Will POWELL (GBR) Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero +41.723s
22. Jade EDWARDS (GBR) Rich Energy BTC Racing +42.293s
23. Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan +43.259s
24. Nic HAMILTON (GBR) Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing +48.873s
25. Ash HAND (GBR) CarStore Power Maxed Racing +2 laps
26. Michael CREES (GBR) CarStore Power Maxed Racing +2 laps
27. Jason PLATO (GBR) Rich Energy BTC Racing +2 laps
28. Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +3 laps
29. Jack BUTEL (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +19 laps