BTCC star Jake Hill battled through wet and unpredictable conditions to take his ROKiT MB Motorsport BMW to his 20th career podium finish at his home circuit of Brands Hatch on Sunday.
On a weekend where Jake was joined by his personal partners including Diamondbrite, CMC Civils, Logicall, Scoria Tech & Garry Jones Boilers Services, blazing conditions set the scene for qualifying on Saturday. Jake launched his WSR-operated BMW 330e M Sport to the front row of the grid in a tantalisingly close qualifying session to set up an exhilarating race day. Separated by just 0.167s from pole sitter Colin Turkington, Jake dialled the car in nicely for his second front row performance in as many events.
A decidedly more damp and mixed picture greeted Jake on Sunday morning with an overcast sky and rain showers throwing a curveball just before the opening race of the day.
Forcing everyone into a rethink, the majority of the field opted to start on the wet Goodyear tyres including Jake. Making a good start from second on the grid, Jake entered the first corner side-by-side with WSR stablemate Turkington - their pair of BMW 330e M Sport machines mere millimetres apart much like their thrilling tussle at the opening round at Donington Park.
As the race wore on and a small drying line began to appear, those on the wet tyres began to toil as Cook used his superior traction out of Clearways to draw alongside into Paddock Bend. Locked rear wheels after a small issue with the downshift in to Paddock Hill forced Jake wide but a superb recovery from the gravel meant he claimed a hard-fought fourth place.
An electric start from fourth place on the grid in race two saw Jake climb into second place before even reaching Paddock Hill Bend, scything past Ingram and Cammish. Now in second place, Jake was locked onto the rear bumper of Cook. Gripped in battle, Jake continued to apply pressure on the Honda throughout the race - maintaining a gap of around three tenths of a second with Cammish also starting to bring himself into contention.
Sandwiched between Cook and Cammish into the tightest corner on the circuit at Druids, Jake lost rear grip and spun - recovering instantly to charge back to 7th place at the flag to bank more all-important points.
After the reverse grid had been drawn for race three, the 28-year-old took up his sixth spot on the grid for the final race of the day and quickly dispatched of Lloyd and Gamble. With his BMW finely zoned in, a number of decisive moves soon brought the Brit up to second place behind Turkington. Bunched back together following a late race safety car, Jake followed Turkington line astern to the finish to notch up his 20th career BTCC podium.
“It's great to be on the podium in the final race,” Jake said. “My ROKiT MB Motorsport BMW was fantastic in the last race. We've been quick all day and I'm glad that race was mistake free this time. I learnt my lesson and we've come home with a podium and a decent haul of points today and that will propel us forward to Thruxton later in the month.”
With Brands Hatch in the books, Jake moves up to fourth place in the Drivers’ championship standings with 69 points. The championship resumes at Thruxton in Hampshire on the weekend of 28-29 May.
RACE RESULTS & CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:
QUALIFYING: P2 (47.706)
ROUND ONE: P4
ROUND TWO: P7
ROUND THREE: P2
CHAMPIONSHIP: P4 (69 pts)
Image courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography.