Jake Hill enjoyed a healthy haul of points in the eighth round of the 2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – scoring another top-three qualifying result before going on to record a brace of 4th place finishes and a 12th place finish.
Heading to Thruxton in fine form after outscoring all of his competitors since the summer break, Jake Hill continued his pace into the weekend’s practices as he finished Saturday’s sessions in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Heading into qualifying, the ROKiT MB Motorsport team braced for a challenging session around a front-wheel drive dominant circuit.
Despite the odds being against him, Jake again delivered a sublime qualifying session once again in 2022 – putting his WSR-run BMW 330e on the second row of the grid in 3rd place and as the standout performer in the rear-wheel drive cars, finishing as the only RWD runner in the top-thirteen places.
Jake’s strong qualifying performance also saw him take the lead in the Goodyear Wingfoot Award – rewarded to the driver with the best qualifying performance throughout the BTCC season.
When race day arrived at Thruxton, Jake started the first race of the weekend from the second row and got a strong launch off the line, and was locked in a three-wide battle as the grid swept into the first heavy braking zone. With competitors on both sides of his BMW, Jake was squeezed and the trio of cars were all fortunate enough to avoid any serious contact but Jake subsequently dropped back to 4th place.
With the FWD drive cars able to extract more grip on the opening laps, Jake began to drop back from the leading three cars and was defending from the group of cars behind him. Eventually getting his tyres up to optimum temperature, Jake came fighting back to the top three and was hot on their tails. However, Jake sensibly did not make any rash decisions and kept himself out of any drama – bringing his car home in 4th place for 13 points and a 4th place starting position in race two.
Similar to the day’s opening race, Jake got a strong launch off the line but struggled with tyre temperatures compared to the FWD cars surrounding him. However, Jake battled valiantly and kept his competitors behind him until his tyres came in and he was able to close the gap to the front three. Crossing the finishing line in 4th place, Jake was just half a second off the podium places as he recorded another strong haul of points.
Handed an eighth position starting position in the reverse grid draw, Jake was locked in a tight battle with several drivers but as they exited the fast right-hander at Segrave, the tight bunching in the pack saw Jake edged wide and onto the grass. Falling back several positions to 15th after the first lap of racing, Jake delivered a determined fight back as he overtook a handful of cars and eventually came across the finishing line for the final time at Thruxton in 12th place.
Picking up a total of 30 points from the weekend’s racing, Jake departs Thruxton 4th in the Drivers’ Championship with 288 points and 23 points behind the championship leader, Coin Turkington, with six races still to contest in the 2022 campaign.
The next race weekend, and penultimate round of the season, takes place at Silverstone on the National Circuit on September 24-25.
Jake Hill, #24 ROKiT MB Motorsport:
“This weekend was a case of damage limitation as we knew this circuit wouldn’t favour us as much as it did our rivals but the team still did a fantastic job to give me a car capable of battling at the front. I was extremely pleased with my qualifying performance, I don’t think there was anything else I could have extracted from the car in that session! The races were tough as getting the tyre temperatures in early was a challenge compared to the FWD cars. The opening laps were like driving on ice but we managed to avoid any dramas and picked up some good points across the three races. We now head for Silverstone, a circuit I have fond memories of and definitely one of the highlights of the year. The championship is still really tight and we’re still pushing for that title!”
RACE RESULTS & CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
RACE ONE: P4
RACE TWO: P4
RACE THREE: P12
CHAMPIONSHIP: P4 (288 pts)