Victory for Hill at Silverstone
Victory for Hill at Silverstone

Just a week after his first BTCC win for MB Motorsport Jake Hill turned a battling drive into a hard-fought Victory in round 24 of the Championship at Silverstone, his third career Win, and his 7th Podium of 2021.

Coming to Silverstone with 66kgs of success ballast due to running 2nd in the points, it was evident early on in practice, and later in qualifying, that the ballast was seriously hampering the Motorbase Performance-run Ford Focus ST.

Despite showing early promise, Hill was frustrated to qualify in 22nd place – remarkably the first time he had qualified outside of the top-ten places since Silverstone 2019, a run of 17 consecutive  races, leaving the BRDC ‘Superstar’ with a tough opening race ahead.

“Silverstone is just three straights and a couple of fairly straightforward corners, so being slow out of the corners due to the ballast has really hurt our pace. Race one will be very tough, but I’ll have a real good go whatever”

Race one proved exactly that. After making early progress up to P17, the weight contributed to the car’s imbalance and tyre wear, and a frustrated Hill battled home to P21.

“Just so difficult. Because we are slow out of the corners because  of the weight, we have to defend like crazy which makes us slow in the corners too! So it was just a matter of surviving and focussing on the remaining races – I have total faith in the team, so I’m sure we will be able to move forward” smiled Hill.

A strong start and opening lap to the second 22 lap race of the day saw Hill immediately pass Goff and Butel, and benefit from Boardley’s mishap, and up to P17 by lap two, gradually working forward before passing Chilton and then in a a superb demonstration of team work, Sam Osborne moved wide at Brooklands to allow Hill to gain another place.

With Plato running wide and team-mate Jackson also being forced off, Hill was now P13 and chasing the all-important top-twelve which would put him in the mix for the reverse grid draw for grid positions for the day’s final race.

After five laps behind the Safety Car due to Edwards retirement, Hill chased down the battle between Oliphant and Proctor, and when the pair made contact and retired, he was now charging up to Dan Lloyd and challenging for 10th place.

A late race charge from a recovering Plato saw Hill demoted to P12 by the former champion, but a decisive move at Luffield saw Hill back ahead, before pulling a similar move on Lloyd on the final lap to sweep home a hard-fought P10.

Post-race scrutineering saw Cook’s car disqualified from P2 for failing the ride-height checks, promoting Hill to P9, and then when  2013 BTCC Champion Andrew Jordan drew number 11, it meant Hill’s Motorbase Performance run Ford Focus ST would start race three from third on the grid.

“That’s more like it! the car came alive without the weight – that and some very good changes made by my engineer Craig (Porley) meant I had a car I could fight with. Great battles and a huge ‘thank you’ to my team-mate Sam (Osborne) for letting me by – massively appreciated – and then the last few laps the car worked brilliantly.

“To just miss out on fastest lap after being 25th or something on lap times in race one just says it all. Mega job by Craig and the whole team. Now starting P3 we’ve got a chance of a strong finish to the day”

A blistering start saw Hill out run Plato and Jelly into Copse, and charge after Pole-man Lloyd, immediately pulling away from the battling pack and focussing on chasing the Vauxhall drive down.

A set of superb laps saw Hill set a 57.848 –  what would end up being Fastest Lap – and soon the leaders were locked together, Hill trying different lines to try and find away past.

The at the end of lap 9, Hill managed to edge the nose of the #24 machine inside Lloyd at Luffield, the pair trading paint through Woodcote, Hill eventually outbraking Lloyd into Copse and taking the lead in a well-worked move.

Immediately Hill edged away, but a couple of laps later a small mistake saw the Yorkshireman back on Hill’s bumper, before a lap late Lloyd himself make a mistake, Hill edging out to Win to take his second Victory in seven days, his third career BTCC Win, and with it keep his championship challenge alive.

“Oh my word, what a race! I think my best start of the year, then the car was just brilliant. Huge thanks as always to my incredible crew – Oly, Craig, Ben, Rob, Adam, Ian and Brad – some more inspired work by Craig to get the car working so well, and fair play to Dan (Lloyd), a real hard, fair fight – he really made me work for that.

“We had so many guests here from MB Motorsport and MB Partners, plus my own amazing partners from Diamondbrite, Scoriatech and CMC Civils were guests in the BRDC Clubhouse, and our guests from Ecoflam, Garry Jones, ABGO and Modelworld joined us too. It was so special as a BRDC ‘Superstar’ to win at Silverstone, I’m hugely proud to be part of this programme, and again I am still in this title fight.

“Ash (Sutton) just keeps on scoring so it will be tough to catch him, but we’ve got my two favourite circuits to finish the season on, so I am full of confidence we can fight him all the way – and of course the other guys in the championship fight are all very, very strong too. Can’t believe I’ve won twice in a week!

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