The BTCC’s Jake Hill claimed a brace of second-place podium finishes at the high-speed Thruxton circuit this past weekend - extending his run of podium-scoring weekends and taking his tally for the season to four overall from three rounds.
A superb qualifying effort from the BRDC SuperStar on Saturday afternoon placed his WSR-run BMW 330e M Sport on the front row of the grid for the third weekend in succession.
Heading into race day, hopes were high of yet more silverware. A sublime launch off the start line in race one saw the Brit surge alongside and briefly ahead of polesitter Josh Cook heading into the first chicane before the Honda reclaimed the position.
With his tyres soon up to temperature, Jake then set about overturning the gap the front-wheel drive Honda had developed ahead. Before long, the #24 was harassing Cook for the lead, maintaining a three-tenth gap whilst vying for a way through in a thrilling cat and mouse chase - eventually settling for second place.
Getting underway in the second race, a solid launch for Jake coupled with a poor getaway for Cook meant Jake took the lead off the start line and into the opening lap. However, Cook then scythed back past into Club chicane as his tyres entered the optimum range - with the pair now running line astern for the second race in a row.
In similar scenes to the first race, Jake continued to pile pressure on Cook but, with the wider championship in mind, chose to secure second place and another strong haul of points - the result of which briefly placed him in second place overall. In another tantalising battle, the pair set near identical lap times for the remainder of the contest as Jake followed Cook home to record his second P2 result of the day.
Taking sixth on the grid for the final race of the day, Jake initially held firm in the middle of the top-ten, running eighth in the early stages. Unfortunate contact with Tom Ingram caused significant damage to the bodywork of Jake’s car which brought the BMW into the pits where the team removed the affected parts.
Back out on the track, Jake rejoined the race but took the chequered flag in P21 as a result.
“Overall we had a really positive weekend at Thruxton,” Jake said. “It’s a track that doesn’t typically suit us rear-wheel drive runners but the BMWs were strong. The front row in qualifying followed by two more podiums is a great haul of points and I thoroughly enjoyed the battles with Josh throughout the day. The final race didn’t fall our way and that was unfortunate but we still scored well and can head to Oulton Park feeling confident.”
As a result of his qualifying performance, Jake retakes the lead of the Goodyear Wingfoot award by four points from Colin Turkington. In the Drivers standings, he now sits in fifth place with 103 points to his name as he gears up for Oulton Park in Cheshire for the next phase of his campaign, set for the weekend of 11-12 June.
RACE RESULTS & CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:
QUALIFYING: P2 (1:15.387)
ROUND SEVEN: P2
ROUND EIGHT: P2
ROUND NINE: P21
CHAMPIONSHIP: P5 (103 pts)
Image courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography.