Drama for Hill at Thruxton
Drama for Hill at Thruxton

Jake Hill had a tough weekend in the latest round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at the high speed sweeps of Thruxton, but continued his points-scoring run with a very hard-earned 15th position in his TAG Racing VW Passat CC in the weekend’s final race.

Hill had showed promise in practice, taking 12th overall in both sessions, but along with his Team HARD team-mates Mike Epps and Will Burns was frustrated not to have improved on times set in practice, with Hill taking 24th on the grid but confident of making progress.

“It’s a bit baffling. We have been in good shape in every session so far, but everyone else has gone much quicker in qualifying and we just haven’t been able to. The positive is that when we did a longer run in practice our race-pace was really good, so that bodes well”

At the start of race one Hill made a blistering start and immediately began making progress, Epps having issues getting away, and then a charging couple of corners saw moves on Taylor-Smith, Davenport, then later in the lap Newsham and Whortown-Eales. By now up to 19th a charge past Plato and then Ollie Jackson saw Hill lapping as quick as the leaders, then starting lap three caught the battling Chilton and Cook.

Getting a great exit to turn one, Hill got alongside Cook into the ‘complex’, the pair running side by side with contact made and then a big hit taking both drivers out of the race.

A furious Hill marched over to Cook to make his feelings clear, and in the process was restrained by the marshals, Hill shrugging them aside as he walked away from the scene.

Hill was quick to apologise via social media for his actions “I was so angry because with Josh he is known for a very aggressive way of driving, and I felt it was unnecessary. I am really sorry to have reacted this way and involved the marshals, they do an amazing job keeping us all safe and I have huge respect for them. I have apologised to them really sincerely all and hope we can move forward. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, neither of us wanted things to end like that, I keep learning and will come back wiser”

A visit to the stewards office resulted in a stern talking to and two penalty points on Hill’s race-licence (his first points since 2011), and an important lesson learned.

Starting race two at the back of the grid, progress up to 26th on the first lap was halted by a huge accident to MG-driver Dan Lloyd, who rolled at the super-fast Church corner, forcing the race to be stopped. Most importantly Lloyd was ok other than bruising, but a delay of over an hour to repair barriers saw the race re-started over 10 laps, and more progress to finish 21st, with the race stopped again after Depper crashed without harm.

Starting the final race in 21st, Hill made a superb start and was quickly past team-mates Burns and Epps and then later in the lap Davenport and Jelley.

After being passed by Pole-man and race one winner Neal, Hill was closing in Smiley, passing him in a bold move exiting the chicane, and then chasing down and passing Ollie Jackson and Matt Simpson, running 16th until Jeff Smith spun, putting Hill P15 and in the points, reward for a charging drive and the team’s incredible hard work.

“The boys have been magnificent all weekend. They worked their socks off to get the damage repaired and got me out for race two with minutes to spare. A problem with the air-jacks meant another load of hard work for the lads, but the car worked really well in the final race and I was really, really pleased to have got in the points for them.”

“It’s been a challenging weekend, lots learned and I wanted to say a huge thank you to all of the fantastic support from TAG Racing, RCIB Insurance, AutoAid Breakdown, and our partners Rolec, Sportif, Brisky Racing, Danfoss, Ecoflam, Bill Rawles Classic Cars, AW Supply Services, Zynth, JEP Photography and everyone else – and of course the job done by the team. A really mega effort. Onwards to Oulton Park in two weeks”

Images courtesy of PSP Images

 

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