HILL ASCENDS TO VICTORY AS BMW MAINTAINS STANDINGS LEAD
BMW and WSR will have two drivers in contention for the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship in the finale following a storming victory for Jake Hill at Silverstone on Sunday (25 September).
The Kent ace won for the third time in 2022 aboard his ROKiT MB Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport and is now just five points away from the lead of the championship with three races remaining and 67 points available.
With Team BMW’s four-time champion Colin Turkington fourth in the standings, WSR-run competitors make up two of the four drivers involved in the title fight.
Hill’s victory came after a stunning mid-race move for the lead that involved a side-by-side battle through the final three corners of Silverstone’s National Circuit and was finally resolved at the entry to Copse corner.
His sixth career win also gave him an 11th podium finish of 2022 – the highest number he’s ever achieved in a single season.
The 28-year-old’s victory also helped BMW to win the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ trophy for race two, which was collected by BMW UK CEO Chris Brownridge.
Hill had earlier turned a front-row start into second place in the opening contest and then set the fastest lap as he recovered from eighth on the partially-reversed grid to finish fourth in the finale.
Stablemate Turkington found the day altogether more challenging. Less than three laps of the day’s opening race had been completed when he was hit from behind at Luffield and spun to the back of the field.
Further contact put him out of contention, but a fantastic recovery from 27th on the grid brought him to 13th spot in the second bout, despite the Northern Irishman having technical issues with his hybrid system.
Having made up a place initially in the final race of the day, Turkington then dropped back to 15th before picking off his rivals ahead to eventually take 12th, leaving him 27 points away from the series lead heading to Brands Hatch. His efforts also helped BMW cement a commanding lead in the fight for a record-extending seventh straight Manufacturers’/Constructors’ title.
Team-mate Stephen Jelley drove well to ninth place in the opener but found himself in the tail end of the top 20 after being spun from behind by a rival on the third lap of race two.
A determined fightback earned the Oulton Park race winner 12th spot and the Leicester ace added 13th in the finale to sit tenth in the points with three rounds to go.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Hill. “Huge credit to WSR and ROKiT MB Motorsport for giving me an untouchable BMW. We missed pole… just, but we didn’t miss out [on race day]. I did the very best I could and pushed it probably beyond what I should have done at times, but it had to be done because I’m fighting for this title and it’s going to go to the last race.
“It was hard not having Craig [Porley, Race Engineer] here, but he’s done an incredible job from his hospital bed and Dick Bennetts and Rob Davidson [Data Engineer] have engineered me together and done a fantastic job. I’m glad the BMW was as quick as it was. The win was great, but the race three drive from eighth to fourth was the championship-defining one. I was angry in race three, so I just cracked on after the safety car. Bring on Brands Hatch!”
“It’s not a day I’m going to remember with any good feelings,” admitted Turkington. “I was hit from behind and spun around in race one and then had later contact that ended my race. Then didn’t I didn’t have any hybrid available in races two or three and when you’re missing that extra power at a track like Silverstone, there’s just nothing you can do. You’re driving around like a wounded animal. It’s just impossible to make progress. The one positive is that I’m still in the championship fight going into Brands Hatch and, as always, I’ll give it everything.”
“Tough day at the office,” added Jelley. “It’s another one of these when I’ve had mega pace and not scored the points we deserved. I was unfortunate in race two because I got up to eighth and in among the teams we’re trying to beat in the Teams’ Championship and then got turned around and dropped back to nowhere. Jake showed the potential to be really quick and we just have to take that to Brands Hatch now because that’s a circuit that should really suit our BMWs.”
“It’s been a very good day for Jake but a bit of a disaster for both Colin and Stephen,” concluded Team Principal Dick Bennetts. “Jake showed how quick the BMW was around here all weekend and his win and his race three drive were both extremely strong. Colin and Stephen both had their day hugely compromised by contact from behind and you can see how hard it made it [for Colin] to make progress through the midfield [without hybrid]. To come from 27th to 13th without hybrid in race two was exceptional. It is, of course, very good to maintain a solid lead for BMW in the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ Championship and to be the only team with two drivers in the title hunt heading to Brands Hatch.”