GOOD POINTS BUT MIXED EMOTIONS FOR LASER TOOLS RACING WITH MB MOTORSPORT AT BRANDS HATCH
Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport and Jake Hill experienced mixed emotions in the second round of the 2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season, as they claimed a brace of fourth-place finishes before a puncture in the final race of the weekend snatched a possible podium from Jake and the team. With Jake Hill claiming the fastest lap time in qualifying, he eventually secured a third-place starting position in Saturday’s ‘Top-10 Showdown’ and lined up the second row for the opening race on Sunday morning. Piloting his #24 WSR-run BMW 330e M Sport, Jake got a strong start off the line but with his front tyres not at their optimum temperature compared to his FWD rivals, Jake lost out on third position to Sutton and crossed the line at the end of lap one in 4th place. However, drama ensued behind the front runners as a number of cars were caught up in an accident, bringing out the red flag and pausing the race as barriers were fixed and cars recovered. As the red flag had been brought out on the opening lap, the order was reset to the starting grid and Jake once again lined up from third place.
Starting race one for the second time, Jake again got a fantastic launch and followed his WSR-stablemate Colin Turkington past the pole sitter, Cammish, and into second place. Managing his tyre temperatures and battling to keep the Fords behind, Jake was eventually passed and fell back to 4th position – from where he took the chequered flag. With race one results setting the grid for race two, Jake lined up on the second row in 4th place and got another monster start off the line – breezing past Cammish into third place but was then passed into the Druids hairpin by Ingram, demoting Jake back down to 4th place. With Cammish also passing Jake, the Kent-based driver was now running in 5th place but, with his tyres now up to temperature, he began his comeback. Setting quick lap times, Jake was alll over the tail of Cammish and launched a fantastic move into Druids to retake 4th position. On a charge towards the podium, Jake’s search for silverware ran out of laps and he took the flag from 4th position to record a brace of 4th place finished.
The third and final race of the day saw Jake handed an 8th-place starting position in the reverse grid draw and once again got a sensational start off the line – passing two cars in the opening corners. Displaying fantastic pace and masterful overtakes on the soft compound tyre, Jake was charging through the field and was up to 4th place on the brink of the podium places. With a handful of laps remaining, Jake’s race took a cruel twist as he picked up a puncture through the high-speed Paddock Hill Bend. Keeping it out of the gravel and avoiding any more damage, Jake tip-toed his BMW around the circuit for a new tyre and rejoined to take the finishing line in 22nd place. Failing to score points in the final race, Jake and the team rounded out a weekend of mixed emotions but remain firmly in the fight heading to Snetterton for round three (20 – 21 May). Jake heads to the Norfolk circuit 5th in the Drivers’ Championship with 58 points.