Points and Podiums for Hill
Points and Podiums for Hill

“Tough start, but a fantastic finish” was how Jake Hill summed up the penultimate weekend of the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park. 

After taking his 9th podium of the season in the final race of the weekend, Hill heads into the the season finale at Brands Hatch 4th in the standings, 45 points behind leader Ashley Sutton.

After qualifying P13 Hill admitted “we could have maybe got in the top ten, but my second new-tyre run didn’t see me improve my time which was frustrating” and a slow start for the opening 16 lap race saw him end lap still P13, despite initially losing out to team-mates Osborne and Jackson, but edging back past Osborne and passing title rival Tom Ingram.

However on lap three, Jackson and Morgan battling through the Old Hairpin ran wide, giving Hill momentum on them both, before Morgan moved right as Hill was alongside, the pair tangling with the BMW clattering heavily into the wall, and Hill scrambling along the grass and dropping to the rear of the field.

As the Safety Car was called, Hill wisely pitted for the car to be checked and grass to be removed from the radiator intake, rejoining at the back of the pack in P28.

“Ollie (Jackson) and Adam (Morgan) were battling hard and ran wide, so I got a ‘run’ at them and was on the outside of Adam when he came across and I had no-where to go. I feel really bad for Adam – it was a genuine accident – and from my perspective I was lucky to be able to continue, albeit from the back”

After the re-start Hill began charging through the pack, and by lap 10 was into the top 20 after passing Goff, then passing Chilton, before a tangle trying to pass Edwards saw him up to P18, finally passing Taylor-Smith to finish a hard-earned P17.

“Very tough, and really, really sorry for tagging Jade (Edwards) – we managed to almost get into the points so it gives us a chance for a decent race two and three”

Hill would later receive 2 penalty points (his first of the season) for the incident with Edwards, and would start P17 for race two, now free of success ballast.

Hill’s Motorbase Performance squad were called into action to take the engine out between races due to a slipping clutch potentially needing changing, and in a remarkable display of team-work managed to complete the task, and rebuild the car with only a couple of minutes to spare before race two.

“Just incredible! Ben, Rob, Adam, Nathan, ‘Data’ Rob, our team manager Rob Tickner and Pete all were amazing in getting the job done. So impressive, and very much appreciated!

Starting P17, again a less than ideal start saw Hill slow away, but immediately began battling hard, working back past Taylor-Smith, then Plato and Oliphant  and into the points within three laps.

Next Hill passed Jelley’s BMW, then team-mate Osborne gave him space to move past, before contact ahead saw Jackson run wide and Hill past him and also Smiley into P11.

Dramas for Rowbottom and an uncharacteristic spin for Turkington then saw Hill battling into P9 at the finish.

“Another frantic race! Still not a great getaway, but the car worked really well and it was great to get into the top-ten again and get another 7 all-important points. Thanks again to Sam (Osborne) for letting me by – really appreciated”

When the revserse grid draw was made, Turkington was awarded Pole Position, meaning BRDC ‘Superstar’ Hill would start P3, behind Daniel Rowbottom’s Honda Civic Type-R.

A strong start saw Hill almost alongside ‘Rowbo’ and side-by-side with Moffat, before edging ahead of the Scotsman’s Infiiniti back into P3, and then seeing the Safety Car deployed later in the lap.

After the damaged cars of Butel and Smelt were recovered, Hill set after the Honda, pressuring hard until a brave move saw him past and into P2 on lap 10,  and charging after leader Turkington.

“Dan (Rowbottom) is great to race with – he made it tough but it was all ok. I then had Aiden (Moffat) on me all the way to the end, but the car was really strong so it was amazing to finish the day with P2, and my fifth BTCC weekend in a row that I’ve been on the podium. Again a massive ‘thank you’ to the guys on my car – Craig, Ben, Rob, Adam, Ian, ‘Data’ Rob and Nathan for their incredible work. We had lots of guests with us from Blue Square, Onfido, Liqui Moly and Cobra Exhausts, along with my fantastic partners Racetruck, CMC Civils, Smarttrams, Point CNC, ABGO and Garry Jones Boilers – a huge thanks as always for their support.

“I am so proud to be going to the final BTCC meeting at my ‘home’ circuit, Brands Hatch, and on the brilliant Grand Prix circuit in with a chance of becoming the 2021 BTCC Champion. It’s a very, very long shot being 45 points behind Ash (Sutton), but anything can happen it the BTCC! Whatever happens I have loved the season so far, so let’s see what we can do…”

“It’s my absolute favourite circuit in the UK, I love the challenge of the GP circuit, and it might throw up some unsettled weather too – I will be giving it everything for a ‘home’ victory!”

Images courtesy of https://psp-images.photoshelter.com

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