Hill storms to best-ever BTCC finish at Silverstone
BRDC Rising Star continues to impress
At the ‘home of British motorsport’ the iconic Silverstone Circuit, Goudhurst driver Jake Hill built on his strong performances in practice and qualifying to take a very hard-earned 5th in round 25 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Having finished 5th and 9th in the two practice sessions, Hill put in a superb lap to qualify 11th, and went into the first of the 22 lap races on the compact 1.64 mile configuration of the Northants circuit confident of making progress.
A solid start and feisty early laps saw Hill quickly past Abbott and scrapping with Moffat early and then catching the Halfords Honda Civics of Shedden and Matt Neal.
A puncture put Shedden out and as Neal and Moffat fought, Hill found a way past the Scotsman and then pulled off a committed move at Copse Corner to squeeze past Neal before catching and passing Aron Smith on the final lap.
Crossing the line a delighted 7th Hill was then promoted to 5th when the 888-run MG6’s of Ash Sutton and Josh Cook were excluded for a technical infringement.
“The car was mega and I had some fantastic battles, especially with Matt. I was really happy with P7 but to now have earned my best-ever result is unbelievable!” smiled Hill
A good start to race two saw Hill maintain 5th and close on the battle between Morgan and Austin, passing Austin at Luffield and then start to close on race one winner Tom Ingram. However the charging Subaru Levorg pair of Turkington and Plato caught and edged Hill out at Luffield a couple of laps later, leaving Hill fighting with Collard, Mat Jackson and a recovering Gordon Shedden.
Collard and then Jackson managed to find a way past Hill just before the Safety Car was deployed to clear debris from Jeff Smith’s car that had suffered a major blow-out.
At the restart Shedden tried to pass at Brooklands, caught Hill’s left-rear tyre with his splitter and caused a puncture, forcing the AutoAidBreakdown-RCIB Insurance Racing Toyota Avensis to pit and drop to a frustrated 27th at the chequered flag.
“We had 27kgs of success ballast on and it hurt the tyres hence I lost out a little mid-race. But I was confident of being able to hang on to 8th to the end when we got the puncture. Even more annoying is that Shedden finished 8th after I stopped and he drew the reverse grid Pole Position! So it’s another battle for the final race…..”
Immediately 22-year old Hill was making progress, quickly passing Martin, Depper, Fletcher and team-boss Tony Gilham, before chasing after Ash Sutton.
As Ingram hit problems and Hill’s other team-mate Epps got caught up with Depper, Hill past the pair and was soon into the points in 15th, gaining a further place when Smith hit problems, and eventually took more points to finish a battling 14th.
Brands Hatch is 1st/2nd October and is the championship decider - LIVE on ITV4