Points and Podiums for Hill
Points and Podiums for Hill

27 year-old BRDC ‘Superstar’ Jake Hill took his fourth Podium of his 2021 campaign, during the BTCC’s annual visit to Knockhill in Fife, the MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square driver taking his Motorbase Performance-run Ford Focus ST, to two hard-earned points finishes and reaching the half-way point in the season 5th overall in points.

Hill ran strongly in mixed conditions during Saturday’s practice sessions, ending up P6 and P9, before heading into qualifying in a confident mood.

“We had a shakedown session on Friday evening, and then the two practice sessions, and we’ve worked out a pretty good balance that works well over the kerbs and bumps here. I absolutely love it here – of course I won here in 2019 and was on the podium here last year – so let’s see what we can do”

Hill knew the 30 minute qualifying session would prove challenging, and Red Flags during the session caused by Parfitt’s accident at the chicane, then later when Morgan went off at the same place, made qualifying very disjointed.

However late on, Hill dug deep and produced a superb 51.021 second lap to qualify 5th, just 0.02 behind Cook’s Honda.

“Wow! That was intense! As always you have to really put it on the line here, so I’m delighted to be in the top six again”

Lining up alongside Ashley Sutton’s Infiniti for the first of the three 24 lap races around the compact 1.27 mile circuit, a strong start saw Hill retain P5, but immediately under pressure from Sutton, the pair running side-by-side into turn two, the #24 Ford just holding position.

Despite huge pressure, Hill drove a precise race, but later on as his front tyres lost performance the current champion was able to get a better exit from the chicane and edge past, Hill then under pressure late on from Sutton’s team-mate Moffat, who almost passed him on the run to the flag.

“The car was really good, but Ash just had a little better run on me, fair play, I couldn’t hold him back, and then Aiden (Moffat) was really pushing – just managed to hold on to P6 at the line!”

Race two saw Hill immediately gain a place when Smiley stalled at the start, then charging after the pair of BTC Honda’s of Proctor and Cook. Gradually edging up on the #18 car of Proctor, Hill pulled a superb dummy into Duffus Dip, and up to P4 on lap 7, then catching and passing Cook at the hairpin three laps later.

Late on a Safety Car was called which resulted in Parfitt (who was a lap down) running ahead of Hill, and then at the re-start failing to keep pace of the leaders and holding Hill up, before moving aside before the chicane.

Hill then edged away from Cook and was closing on the battling Sutton and Turkington, when the BMW driver ran wide and Sutton swept into the lead, closing in on the final lap and ultimately finishing a hard-fought P3 – his 13th career BTCC podium.

“The car was just superb. Mega job by the MB Motorsport and Motorbase crew as always, and really good to be in the mix. It was so frustrating that Parfitt held me up because I would have been close enough to benefit from Colin (Turkington) running wide – still really pleased to be back on the Podium again.”

As Jelley was drawn on Pole Position for the Reverse Grid for race three, Hill would start P7, and again a superb start saw him pass Cook, and then slice past Shedden at Clark into P5.

Under pressure throughout from the Honda, Hill managed the gap   and gradually edged away, before the battle for the lead saw Plato passed by Ingram and Proctor, allowing Hill to close and dive past the Vauxhall at McIntyres and up into P4.

Shedden followed Hill past Plato and again began to close on Hill, and late on when Ingram snuck past Jelley into the lead, the Pole-Man was also passed by Proctor, dropping to P3.

As Hill caught Jelley at Clark, Shedden was able to dive past and took Sutton through with him, Hill now running in P6.

By now Hill’s brakes were causing issues and as Smiley caught him on lap 20, Hill couldn’t stop for Duffus Dip, plunging across the grass and dropping down to P10.

A combination of the braking issues and the radiator intake now full of grass after running wide forced Hill to pit and retire with just three laps remaining, bringing his run of 6 points scoring finishes in a row to an end.

“Really good once again, the car felt great and I was able to keep Gordon (Shedden) behind for most of the race – and he is ‘Mr. Knockhill’! However when I got boxed in by Jelley and passed by Shedden and Sutton, the braking issues were getting pretty bad, and were also causing the tyres to overheat, then we stopped as I had grass in the rads. 

“I feel so sorry for all of the MB Motorsport and Motorbase Performance guys as they have been brilliant all weekend. We come away still very much in a good place points-wise, and with some of our best circuits coming up in the second half of the year. Again a massive thanks to the team and our amazing partners – we had guests from Blue Square, Liqui Moly, some prize winners from The Car Sales Co.

“Bury, my partners CMC Civil Engineering, my good friends John and Mary Miskin and even my Grandad came along! I’ve loved it in Scotland again, now we have a couple of weeks and we start again at Thruxton – let’s hope it goes as well as it did there in May!”

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