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Double for Hill at Knockhill
Double for Hill at Knockhill

Kent’s Jake Hill enjoyed another memorable Knockhill outing as he collected his second double-victory performance of the season, across a dramatic race day at the Fife circuit.

Back-to-back successes in races one and two have helped the Laser Tools Racing man climb up into P3 in the Drivers’ Championship with three rounds of the season to go.

Qualifying started on a treacherously slippery circuit, where after setting an initial P4 time,  a lock-up into turn one saw the Kent-based driver slither across the grass, and badly damage the splitter and bumper. A mammoth effort from Jake’s WSR crew saw the car back out with less than four minutes of the 30 minute session left.

By now the track had dried sufficiently for everyone to have set a time on slick tyres, Hill now languishing in P25, and needing to get into the top-ten to progress to the crucial top-ten showdown that sets the front of the grid. On his final run Hill delivered under huge pressure to end the session P1, and progress through to the showdown.

Now on a full dry circuit Hill set a time good enough for a front-row start, only to be pipped by just 0.029secs by Sutton to qualify a remarkable P3. 

After this strong Saturday performance, Jake lined the grid in his WSR-run BMW 330e M Sport with his eyes set on reeling in his competitors in front.

A good launch off the line saw Jake settle into his P3 position and as the leaders in front battled for position, the Scottish weather rolled its dice. Rain started to fall heavily, with the Cook and Sutton battle ending with Cook in the wall at turn one.

With the rain continuing to fall for several laps, Jake then made the decision to come into the pits from his P2 position on the road as conditions worsened. A fantastically timed stop and change onto wet tyres from the WSR crew released Jake back into the field in P9, coming out on the road as the second of the wet tyre runners.

The rain then began to thrash down leaving the frontrunners with no choice but to pit for wet tyres as well as the first safety car of the race was called. Following the safety car period, Jake continued to make progress up the field and found his way into P2 behind championship rival Tom Ingram. The pair took the flag in this order, however Ingram’s car failed the mandatory post-race ride-height check, which saw him disqualified, and saw Hill promoted to take his third victory of his 2023 campaign.

Lining up from P1 on the grid for race two, Jake managed the start excellently and gapped his fellow front runners in the early stages of the race. However, a safety car period closed Jake’s gap, but a well-timed restart extended his lead once more, allowing him to build up a gap to Sutton behind.

With Sutton closing in, the pattern of the race was now set with Sutton applying huge pressure to the #24 Laser Tools Racing car. In spite of this, Jake delivered a faultless performance keeping his title rival at bay and showcasing an imperious defence. The victory in race two gave the 29-year-old back-to-back successes for the second time this season, having achieved the same feat back at Oulton Park in June.

With ball number seven being picked in the reverse grid draw, Jake would line up from seventh on the grid for the final race of the day. Despite changeable weather being the order of the weekend, the Scottish circuit had saved its best until last as the rain bucketed it down just as the entire field was about to set off for the formation laps.

The race was at first delayed, before commencing under the safety car. With conditions treacherous and visibility impaired, Jake set about trying to make progress. Finding his way up into fifth, the race looked set to bring a promising end to the day until Jake was caught out by standing water as he braked hard for the chicane, and unable to stop made contact with team mate Stephen Jelley.

Pushing hard to make up for the places lost, Jake ran wide at the hairpin as he was relegated to P18 in the running order. Getting his head down sensibly, Jake was able to pick off a few of the field in the remaining laps to take the final flag of the day in P14, taking 2 vital points as he moved from 35 points to just 13 points behind Ingram and now up to P3 in the points with 9 races remaining.

Securing another bucketful of points, Jake leaves Knockhill now 3rd in the Drivers’ Championship just eleven points behind reigning champion Ingram, whom his sights will be set on when he and the team return to action at Donington Park GP in two weeks time.

Speaking after the weekend, Hill said: “I think it’s fair to say that this weekend has had a bit of everything. After all the drama in qualifying yesterday, today has been absolutely amazing, chaotic and disappointing all in one! To claim the victories in races one and two felt fantastic, and I was particularly happy with how we handles ourselves in race two under a lot of pressure.

“Race three was a bit of a mess all-round the grid and I’m sorry to the team and my WSR-stablemate Stephen as he looked on for a strong result. I owe so much to the Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport team and my WSR crew this weekend. The two victories today were made possible by their efforts yesterday and I am pleased to have been able to thank them in the best possible way today.”

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