POINTS AND PRAISE FOR HILL AT ROCKINGHAM
A weekend that delivered technical dramas, monsoon conditions and ultimately another superb set of race performances that drew praise from the media and his peers, saw RCIB Insurance Racing driver Jake Hill take a very hard-earned 8th place in the weekend’s final race at Rockingham, Northants in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
After the unique anti-clockwise nature of the 1.94 mile part-oval venue at Rockingham caused issues with fuel starvation in practice, torrential rain in qualifying forced the session to be stopped for safety reasons resulting in 19th place on the grid for 22 year-old BRDC Rising Star Hill.
Demonstrating the race-craft and determination that has regularly drawn praise from the media this season, Hill immediately gained places at the start of race one, passing Simpson and Cole off the line , then passing Scott and Jeff Smith early in the lap, Abbott and Newsham as they tangled and Depper as he was taken out, so ended a frantic opening lap in a superb 12th place!
After a safety car period Hill immediately tagged onto the battle between Morgan, Jordan and Neal - all race winners this year - and in one of the most exciting moves of the season so far sat side-by-side with triple champion Neal for four corners, eventually out-braking the Honda into the chicane at the end of the lap to move into 11th place.
“A crazy first lap and then I got a run at Matt and just held my ground - I was on the inside, then the outside and then inside again and got it done eventually, but that was mega!” smiled Hill.
Neal commented later “Jake’s a really good little racer, tough but fair, he earned that position fair and square”
Frustratingly though it wasn’t to last as part of the air intake on Hill’s Toyota Avensis came loose and caused the car to overheat and lose power, forcing retirement on lap 7.
“The car was handling brilliantly. Thanks to the team for a great job - I was catching the group ahead and know I would have made up more places. So frustrating that this stopped us”
Starting race two in 29th place Hill dropped to last place after he almost stalled at the start, but this prompted the drive of the race as he carved his way past car after car, passing Lines, Martin and Jeff Smith on the final lap to take a remarkable 16th place from 31st place on lap one. Hill also survived a scare when contact from Alex Martin saw the car cut out, only for a quick reset to start it up again and allow him to charge back into action!
“That was tough as we were using the hard ‘option’ tyre which isn’t as quick as the standard tyre. The car was still really well balanced and I benefitted from a few others having problems but passed a fair few too even though they made it tough. On top of that the car cut-out mid-race thanks to Martin hitting me otherwise we would have got in the points”
From 16th on the grid for race three Hill immediately gained a place as Austin ran wide, then passed Cole’s Subaru Levorg before the safety car intervened. At the re-start Hill closed on the pack ahead and gained a place when Tordoff ran wide, soon after pulling off a brave double-pass on Ollie Jackson and Aiden Moffat and into the top ten.
Another safety car intervened after Newsham and Sutton tangled and later in the race Hill first had to fight off old-rival Ingram - who hit Hill at the chicane and broke his suspension - and late-on almost passed Morgan, in the end taking a superb 8th overall and more points.
Kent-based Hill was beaming after three very strong displays in each of the 16 lap races “The car was really strong here, it’s a shame we didn’t have dry qualifying as I think we’d be near the top-ten and maybe challenging the top six in the races. I had some great battles, and I’m extremely grateful for RCIB Insurance and our fantastic partners from Brisky Racing, Sportif Motor Group, AW Supply Services, BAK Cladding, Zynth, BTS Consultants, JEP, Omologato and loads of other great people who have supported us at various stages in the season. We have a battle to get the funds to finish off my first full season and as we finish at Brands Hatch GP Circuit which is my favourite circuit I am determined to get there and see what we can do”
Next race; Silverstone 17th & 18th September
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