HILL MAKES RIGHT TYRE CALL TO WIN RACE ONE
Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill made a late call on the grid to switch to Goodyear wet tyres, as he left his fellow contenders in his wake to win the opening BTCC race at Silverstone.
Drizzly conditions led to a chaotic pre-grid as teams and drivers had a critical call to make, with the vast majority of the top ten choosing to stick with slick rubber.
The tide turned – quite literally – just a few minutes before the three-minute board was shown as the rain began to get heavier, suggesting that Hill and co had made the right decision.
Further drama followed for pole-sitter Mikey Doble when the CarStore Power Maxed Racing driver seemed to make a mistake during the green flag procedure as he continued for an unscheduled second lap, whilst the rest of the grid took up their positions.
With Doble now out of the way it was left to the four main title protagonists to battle it out, which Hill dealt with comfortably as he blasted away with the correct rubber beneath his BMW 330e M Sport.
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington’s title challenge looks to have come to an end as he pitted at the end of lap one with damage, whilst a gaggle of others – including Tom Ingram (BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8) and Ash Sutton (NAPA Racing UK) – came in to change tyres.
A fully jumbled order finally settled as Hill won from NAPA Racing UK’s Dan Rowbottom, with the latter finally getting the better of CarStore Power Maxed Racing’s Andrew Watson in the closing stages.
Rowbottom qualified a lowly 13th yesterday after suggesting that he lifted off in order to ensure that team-mate Sutton made it through to the ‘Top Ten Showdown’, so this result will have come as a welcome boost.
Team BMW’s Adam Morgan was fourth, ahead of the returning Bobby Thompson (Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown) and Rory Butcher (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK).
Aron Taylor-Smith (CarStore Power Maxed Racing) was the first of the slick-shod runners to bring it home as the Irishman also took the fastest lap amidst drying conditions on his penultimate tour.
Sam Osborne (NAPA Racing UK), Josh Cook (One Motorsport with Starline Racing) and Dan Lloyd (Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils) rounded out the top ten, whilst Doble recovered to finish 11th.
Jake Hill said: “There were no safety car so that was a surprise – so many people were still on slicks. We were sat on the grid and I thought lets just do it. The risk versus reward just didn’t add up for me and it came through. I’m so thankful for this race and my two championship rivals not scoring which is what we need.
“I was in this amazing rhythm. That only happens once or twice in a year if not ever where you find that rhythm and it was just amazing. This win is for Dan Kirby, my former team principle, at Trade Price Cars Racing. I loved Dan to bits and my thoughts are with his family and friends. This one is for you Dan.”
Dan Robottom said: “I was annoyed but I made the ultimate sacrifice. We were only going to qualify P7, never going to set the world alight. It’s hard here, you know what Silverstone is like, tough to overtake these days.
“However, great start to the day, car was fantastic and NAPA Racing put a good package together. We were quick at the end but I’ll take it from P2.”
Andrew Watson said: “I wasn’t really expecting that. I got a great launch, really good first lap and we knew people would be on different tyres. I was looking after my tyres and didn’t want to fight it too hard with everything else going on so I’m delighted with that.”
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race One – Silverstone
1. Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport 22 Laps
2. Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK +5.355s
3. Andrew Watson, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +7.430s
4. Adam Morgan, Team BMW +19.464s
5. Bobby Thompson, Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown +20.642s
6. Rory Butcher, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +21.197s
7. Árón Taylor-Smith, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +22.257s
8. Sam Osborne, NAPA Racing UK +22.776s
9. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +27.538s
10. Daniel Lloyd, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +29.078s
11. Mikey Doble, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +29.926s
12. Michael Crees, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +33.983s
13. Tom Chilton, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +36.002s
14. Daryl DeLeon, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD +36.007s
15. George Gamble, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +38.320s
16. Jade Edwards, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +42.347s
17. Aiden Moffat, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +44.334s
18. Dexter Patterson, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD +47.163s
19. Stephen Jelley, Team BMW +48.038s
20. Ricky Collard, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +48.280s
21. Jack Butel, Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown +48.551s
22. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +1 Lap
23. Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK +1 Lap
24. Ronan Pearson, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +1 Lap
25. Nick Halstead, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +1 Lap
26. Colin Turkington, Team BMW +8 Laps
27. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +18 Laps