Sixth podium of season for Hill
Sixth podium of season for Hill

On a day where conditions ranged from torrential rain to winter sunshine, MB Motorsport accelerated by BlueSquare’s Jake Hill took points in all-three races on the compact Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, battling his way to a sixth podium finish of the year, and taking 7th overall in the Championship.

The day’s opening race held in torrential rain saw Hill lose out to Matt Neal at the start, but quickly battle back past the former champion in to P6.

Catching and challenging Ollie Jackson’s Ford Focus, a Safety Car saw Hill pick up a misfire courtesy of the engine running cooler.

However the 26 year-old dug deep and managed to hold on to P6  and even set his best lap on the final tour.

“The car worked really well, but the misfire and a slight handling issue meant I was really pleased to hang on for P6.

Again starting P6 – with 24kgs of success ballast on board – Hill made a superb start on a mainly dry circuit in which almost every driver started on slick tyres, charging into Paddock Bend alongside the Ford Focus duo of Butcher and Jackson.

However as all three cars squeezed into the corner they all tangled and slithered sideways into the gravel, scrabbling out but losing several places – Hill now down in P20 at the end of lap one.

The local ace now used all of his circuit knowledge and skill to battle quickly up to P13, then edging past the two Exelr8 drivers in one move at Clearways to move up to P11.

Frantic action as cars battled the tricky conditions saw Hill set fastest lap, and pass Morgan for what was now P6 as both Chilton and Neate dropped back on their wet-weather tyres.

Hill had picked up damage in the first-corner incident,  the front-splitter breaking and causing handling issues and a lack of airflow to the brakes, meaning Hill ran wide and allowed Morgan back through.

Manging the brake and tyre degradation Hill held, having had to battle back from 20th to 7th place at the end – then benefitting from the reverse-grid draw to start the final race of the day – and the 2020 season – in P6 on the grid.

“Typical! I made THE best start, and it probably cost me in the end! Without that tangle (at turn one) I feel we could have challenged for the win, but to make up so many places in these conditions, and with a badly damaged cars, is really satisfying.

With the overall championship still open between Sutton, Turkington and Cammish, the rain once again fell heavily prior to the final 24 laps of the season.

Another strong start saw Hill immediately pass Proctor, then battling hard with Morgan around the opening lap, and with Pole-man Moffatt and Smiley tangling he quickly made his way up to 4th overall.

Charging after Morgan’s Mercedes, Hill passed the #33 car on lap 5, now into the podium positions and closing on Cook.

Slicing past in a decisive move at Druids and now up to P2, Cook countered and barged Hill wide at Graham Hill and back down into P3.

A determined Hill caught the BTC Honda and once again applied the pressure, forcing Cook to make a mistake at Surtees and get sideways, giving Hill a gap on the inside of Clearways on lap 9.

Cook decided to close the door very late, the pair making contact and both running wide, allowing Morgan, Ingram and Cammish past, and demoting Hill back to P5.

Cammish and Hill quickly closed on Morgan, with Cammish nudging Morgan wide at Druids, passing and taking Hill with him.

Hill now set about closing down Cammish, and in a committed move at Clearways on lap 17, dived past and up to P3.

Pulling away calmly, Hill then capped a strong weekend with his 6th podium finish of the year, and with it consolidated P7 in the overall BTCC Championship and P5 in the Independant Category.

“Another frantic race which pretty much sums up the BTCC! So pleased to have taken another podium, and to finish P7 in the points – after being only P24 after six races, shows what a mega job we as a team have done. To have scored points in 20 of the last 21 races, taken 6 podiums and an Independant Win, plus qualifying in the top-ten at every race – an amazing year.

“It’s been great working with Mark (Blundell) and Alex Watts from MB – plus Mikey and Tom – and the team’s partners this season.

“Plus a massive thanks to everyone for the work at the track and behind the scenes – Shaun, Rob  T and  my brilliant crew; Craig, Ben, Rob O, Dan, Mick and Charlie, and of course my fantastic partners who have been so supportive in this most challenging of years. Thanks so very much.

“I’m already looking forward to 2021 – the plans behind the scenes are incredibly exciting – and I know I am in the best possible place for a very strong year next season.

“For now though it’s time to regroup, and make sure I am in the best place mentally, physically and every possible way to do even better next year. I have proved I can win, qualify well, fight back if needs be, score points, and am ready for more. Come on 2021!

Images courtesy of Jakob Ebrey