Jake Hill’s magnificent double for BMW and WSR at Knockhill
Jake Hill secured a magnificent double win for WSR and BMW on a Sunday of high drama for the Championship at Knockhill.
With Stephen Jelley adding another podium finish, it was a memorable day for the organisation, which maintained BMW’s lead in the Manufacturers’ standings amid bright sunshine and heavy rain showers at the Scottish circuit.
Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport driver Hill was in great form aboard his BMW 330e M Sport during the opening two races.
Running third as part of a multi-car battle for the lead in Race One featured seven cars as rain began to fall at one-third distance. He moved up the order after switching to wet tyres and claimed his third win of 2023.
He doubled his tally for the weekend with a 10th career win in Race Two; the Kent racer resisting intense pressure from behind for the final five laps. Race Three was held in heavy rain that began just as the cars were sat on the grid, he placed 14th.
Hill, who scored the 330e M Sport’s seventh win from seven events this season, is now the highest-placed BMW driver in the Championship, holding third spot with Team BMW’s Colin Turkington one place behind.
Leicester racer Stephen Jelley set a strong pace initially in the dry conditions at the start of Race One but gained significantly from being the first driver to pit for wet tyres after the heavens opened.
Leaping up the order as the rest of the field followed suit, he finished fourth and then broke his podium duck for the year a few hours later with a commanding drive and result.
Having used his option ‘medium’ tyres in the opener, he was set to benefit from the faster softs in Race Three from fifth however a difficult race resulted in a 19th place finish.
Four-time champion Colin Turkington, who was third in the standings coming into the weekend after wins at the past two events, endured a frustrating day.
He stack-up behind team-mate Adam Morgan during the Race One tyre changes, the Northern Irishman’s pitstop was delayed and finished a lapped 11th. Races Two and Three were also difficult for Turkington with a DNF and a 17th place finish.
Morgan equalled his season’s-best qualifying performance with sixth spot on Saturday however a puncture during Race One contributed towards an 18th place finish.
The Lancashire racer climbed into the points in Race Two before an issue resulted in two additional pitstops and eventually left him unclassified. He was 18th from the back of the grid in Race Three.
Jake Hill (Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport) said: “Races One and Two have been amazing today. The first race was extremely challenging with the mixed conditions, but it’s great to come away with the win. In Race Two I really had to defend hard to get the win, but it was a good battle and I got it. Race Three didn’t go the way I’d hoped, but the pace in both wet and dry was strong from the BMW so I got to Donington looking for even more.”
Stephen Jelley (Team BMW) said: “I’m very happy to get back on the podium for the first time this year and with the number of points I’ve scored, but the BMW felt mega in wet or dry so I’m a little bit disappointed we couldn’t get even more out of the day. Even in the changeable conditions, which haven’t always been our strong point, it’s felt great so thanks to the team for giving me such a great car, which gave me confidence to push on, even in the wettest of the conditions.”
Colin Turkington (Team BMW) said: “We were set up for a pretty good day after qualifying eighth, but there’s been some difficulties. I didn’t have the luck in Race One with the timing of the pitstop, but there was a good opportunity to go forwards in Race Two. Starting at the back [of Race Three] is hard enough, but trying to come forwards when the visibility is so bad is so difficult.”
Adam Morgan (Team BMW) said: “Race Three wasn’t too bad pace-wise, the visibility early on made it quite risky though, especially into the first corner. The pace we had in the dry gives me confidence for Donington though.”