After narrowly missing out on the BTCC title last year, Jake Hill used this past weekend to turn up the pressure on current championship leader Ash Sutton after a thrilling day of action at Oulton Park on Sunday.
Securing his third consecutive pole after Q2 on Saturday, Sutton appeared to be on course for another successful outing. However, within the opening moments of race one, Hill reminded us just how dangerous the BMWs can be off the line, taking the lead out of the first corner. Despite Sutton’s best attempts, his lack of Hybrid allowance obviously played a part and he was unable to wrest the victory away, handing Hill his first victory of the season and his first-ever at the Cheshire circuit.
It was much the same story in race two, as Jake Hill maintained a comfortable lead whilst Ash Sutton was busy defending second place from reigning champion Tom Ingram, until Will Powell’s exit into the gravel prompted a safety car, bringing the pack back together.
A confident restart from Hill and a few laps later, the Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport driver crossed the line to take not only his second win of the day but also his first-ever double-win of his career.
Being the one to make the reverse grid draw himself, Hill proved that luck was very much still on his side by drawing seventh-placed BMW team-mate Adam Morgan on pole for the final race of the day, placing himself seventh in the process.
In the drama-filled opening moments, championship leader Ash Sutton come off worse in a tussle with Tom Ingram and ended his race as quickly as it had begun. All eyes were then on Hill’s BMW team-mate Colin Turkington as he continued his remarkable comeback and surged into second-place early. With all of this happening, it was almost easy to overlook Hill’s own progress from seventh to third within the first lap.
Team BMW were leading the way with Hill and Turkington behind Adam Morgan. Not one to simply accept another podium spot, Jake Hill took advantage of Turkington’s move on Adam Morgan, taking second as the four-time champion fired into the lead en route to his 65th BTCC victory.
Two wins, a second and three fastest laps – Jake Hill took massive strides to silence any critics that may have said he was lacking the bite that saw him almost win the title last year. He now sits third in the overall driver’s championship, 20 points behind Tom Ingram and only 26 behind leader Sutton.
Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport, said: “It’s been a blinder of a race weekend! To take two wins, three podiums and three fastest laps is brilliant and I can’t say much more than that. This car and the team are true heroes, and we have really turned it around this weekend. The car was monstrous – I am not saying that it is going to be rapid everywhere, but it is currently a lovely place to be. I must say a huge thank you to Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport, everyone in the team at West Surrey Racing and of course BMW UK for all of their support.
As BTCC now goes into its summer break, it’ll all be down to how the drivers and the teams – especially West Surrey Racing – take advantage of this time and any changes that can be made to capitalise on this success before the competition resumes at Croft on 29th & 30th July.
BTCC Journalist @F1 Journal