MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square enjoy strong start to Knockhill weekend
It is all to play for heading into tomorrow’s race day for MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square, after the Motorbase Performance run squad enjoyed a positive start to their weekend at Knockhill. Despite an interrupted qualifying session, the driving duo of Jake Hill and Ollie Jackson earned themselves P5 and P17 starting positions respectively to place them both firmly in the mix as they head into Sunday.
The MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square squad made their way north of the border for their annual trip to the much-loved Knockhill Circuit in a confident mood. Last season had brought positive results for Jake Hill at the track in his FK2 Honda Civic while Motorbase Performance also claimed an outright race victory at the same meeting.
In typical fashion, conditions were mixed at the start of the day as a downpour greeted Ollie and Jake as they took to the track for the first practice session of the day. As conditions flipped for the second half of the session, the drying track saw the whole grid searching for grip wherever possible. At the conclusion to the session, both Ollie and Jake found themselves in the top-ten, in P10 and P6 respectively.
A drier track provided the playground for session two as lap times fell substantially across the field. As ever, the BTCC grid was intensely competitive with less than a second separating the top twenty-three drivers. As the curtain fell on the morning’s proceedings, Ollie ended the session in P22, with Jake in P9.
Heading into qualifying, both drivers had their eyes on troubling the top-ten with the margins so fine once again. Ollie entered the session determined to bounce back after a couple of luckless weekends whilst Jake sought to make the most of the session in spite of his Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST carrying 48kg of success ballast.
An early red-flag interrupted the opening exchanges and halted Ollie’s efforts on his flying lap. At the midway point, both Ollie and Jake were in and around the top-ten as they sought to convert their morning performances into grid position. Unfortunately, another red flag was waved with just under twelve minutes remaining causing the drivers to reassess once more.
Effectively faced with a ten-minute shootout for grid position, there looked to be some surprises on the cards. Ollie pushed to improve and did so with a 51.349 which placed him into P17 at the conclusion, just outside the points-paying positions with it all to play for tomorrow.
With the likes of Ash Sutton and Tom Ingram firmly placed inside the top-ten in the closing moments, there was a great deal of pressure on Jake’s final run – pressure which the Kent-based driver made light work of. Finding another chunk of time, Jake delivered a 51.021 which ultimately led the BRDC Superstar into P5 at the close, the quickest of the heavier cars on the grid.
Ollie Jackson – Qualified P17 – #48 MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square:
“It was a bit of a stop-start qualifying session today which didn’t really fall in our favour. Of course, I’d like to be a bit further up the grid but name me a driver that doesn’t! Most importantly, we are in and amongst it and I know we’ve got the car and the ability to really get in and amongst the frontrunners tomorrow, which is what I am looking to do.”
Jake Hill – Qualified P5 – #24 MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square:
“It’s been another really positive day here at Knockhill. The final moments of qualifying were a bit tense as it’s always so tight around here but we’ve got to be really happy where we’ve ended up. Despite the weight, we’ve qualified inside the top seven at every meeting so far. We know what is ahead of us tomorrow and what we need to do.”
Mark Blundell – Sporting Director, MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square:
“The team has delivered another strong performance today. You can’t underestimate how tight the margins are in qualifying around here. Ollie will have his eyes forward tomorrow on race day and I’m confident that he’ll be able to get the results that his pace deserves. For Jake, to qualify in P5 with that weight is fantastic and he just needs to focus on another clean race day tomorrow. Yet again, the Motorbase Performance squad have done a great job and we’re fully focused on having another successful day at the office tomorrow.”