Pole and victory for Jake Hill at Donington Park BTCC season-opener

Jake Hill got his 2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship campaign off to a winning start at Donington Park - where the British driver claimed pole position, race victory, two fastest laps and the qualifying and race lap records in a thrilling roller coaster weekend of action-packed racing.


On Saturday, the ROKiT MB Motorsport driver claimed his maiden outright BTCC pole position after a stunning performance in qualifying - where he edged out WSR stablemate Colin Turkington by just 0.018s.


Fired up for his first BTCC race in the BMW 330e M Sport on Sunday, Jake launched off the grid and was immediately locked into battle with Turkington as the pair ran side-by-side through Redgate and down through the Craner Curves - locked in battle for the opening two laps.


The opening exchanges of the BTCC’s first hybrid-powered race saw a five-car scrap for the lead develop - a battle Jake unfortunately lost out on as he was squeezed to the outside and forced to concede position to those behind. Mounting a fightback, Jake closed the gap once again before clipping the tyres on the inside of the final chicane and picking up damage to the front-right of his BMW. Taking third place on the road and the fastest lap of the race, the Brit was subsequently disqualified from the final result after failing the post-race ride height check due to the damage sustained.


Sent to the back of the grid for the day’s second race, Jake was more fired up than ever to push through the field and into the points-paying positions. Starting from 28th on the grd, a sensational opening few tours of the Leicestershire circuit saw Jake climb an astonishing 12 places to 16th. From there, Jake harnessed the power of the hybrid system aboard his BMW to great effect - continuing to chip away and gain places throughout the race. By the end of the 16-lap contest, Jake had risen to the top-ten and finished ninth overall.


This placed Jake In the mix for the reverse-grid draw for race three. With number nine drawn from the pot, the 28-year-old returned to the pole position spot that he started the day from. A much more untroubled affair for the BRDC SuperStar, Jake wasted little time and romped away from the pack. By the end of the first lap, he had generated a gap of almost one-second to rival Ash Sutton behind. Once again Jake made good use of his hybrid system and set the fastest lap of the race on his way to victory - crossing the line 2.148s clear of Sutton to open his account for the season.


Jake leaves the opening round of the season sixth in the championship standings with 30 points. Next up for Jake is his home circuit of Brands Hatch on the weekend of 14-15 May, where the Kent-based driver will resume battle on the fast and thrilling Indy circuit.


“I can’t describe how much of a crazy day it’s been,” Jake said. “From lining up for my first pole position to then starting from the very back of the grid and then going all the way back to pole, I’ve experienced everything today! The car has felt fantastic all day and I’ve been so dialled in with it. We knew the performance was there and we knew what we had to do to go and get the result. As a team I think we went through every emotion possible today and it all came good in the end. The last race felt very reminiscent of Croft last year - it was the sort of race you dream of where everything was just right and went exactly how you wanted it to. A big hats off and thank you to everyone at ROKiT MB Motorsport and WSR for today - if we can continue this momentum throughout the rest of the season then we’ll be in a great place.”

 

RACE RESULTS & CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

QUALIFYING: P1 (1:08.418)

ROUND ONE: -

ROUND TWO: P9

ROUND THREE: P1

CHAMPIONSHIP: P6 (30 pts)


Image courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography.