3 August 2020

Jake Hill 'very frustrated' with BTCC season opener

By Road Runner
Jake Hill at Donington Park

Jake Hill endured a ‘very frustrating’ day at the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season opener at Donington Park on 2 August.

Jake’s promising qualifying performance did not turn into success on the day after several technical issues.

After practice and qualifying, the 26 year old BRDC Superstar seemed to be in with a chance of a strong result in race one, with P8 and P12 in practice. A committed lap saw Jake qualify P7, with a potential P4 were it not for a red flag while he was on his best lap.

Jake said: “Very odd how the car changed so much from practice to qualifying! Understeer to huge oversteer in just a few hours…but very pleased to be in the mix – P3 in Independents too – so let’s see what we can do.”

The opening round of the BTCC season saw Jake battling hard, particularly with Matt Neal, in the Honda Civic Type-R FK8. The pair swapped places and Hill was able to move to P6 after Sutton spun, but was later forced into the pits and into retirement.

“Some kind of engine-related issue unfortunately” said Jake. “It felt like it was under par from the beginning, then it just slowed and stopped. A huge shame.”

The technical crew at MB Motorsport worked frantically to replace Hill’s engine in time for race two. A truly remarkable effort ensured Jake’s Honda Civic Type-R just made it to the pitlane in time for the start of the second race.

After a strong start and some very impressive overtaking, Jake manoeuvred his Honda up to P14 from a P26 start, and it looked as though more progress was to be made. But, unbelievably, Jake was once again forced into the pits with a second engine issue.

“Wow. Two engine-related issues in two races. Pretty much unheard of but just my luck it has happened to me! I cannot believe my guys have to do another engine change,” Jake said. “So grateful for the job they have done for me. I just hope I can repay them with a strong result in race three.”

A strong start to race three saw Jake make up a couple of places before a safety car stopped the race. Jake headed to the pit lane again, this time a problem with the gear linkage halting his progress.

Charging back into the race, Jake’s pace was remarkable – setting the second fastest lap of anyone, with an engine which was now running faultlessly. The performance gives Jake some confidence as he prepares to take on round two at Brands Hatch on 8/9 August.

“Brands Hatch GP is my favourite circuit. The car is quick there and I go there with no success ballast and a point to prove. My amazing partners know I can deliver – and I am so very sure we can. A tough one this weekend but we still have 24 races and lots of points to take.”

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