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Jake Hill ‘chuffed to bits’ with best qualifying result after bouncing back from misfire

MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill was delighted to secure his best ever British Touring Car Championship qualifying result after bouncing back from a misfire early in the session.

Hill, who secured the first podium of the season for the MB Motorsport squad last time out at Oulton Park, has struggled with reliability issues so far this year surrounding a misfiring engine on his FK2 Honda Civic Type R.

After topping the opening practice session of the day, the misfire reared its head again at the start of qualifying, forcing the team to replace a part of the wiring to rectify the issue.

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After a red flag stoppage to retrieve Matt Neal’s stricken FK8 Honda Civic Type R from the exit of the chicane, Hill was able to improve on his time to set a time just 0.053 adrift of Sutton’s pole lap, marking his first ever front row start – from qualifying – in the series for race one.

“That was amazing, I’m chuffed to bits,” Hill told ITV. “It’s amazing for me and for MB Motorsport. We’ve all done a great job today.

“It showed in FP1 that we were feeling good pace-wise. In FP2 we just did a race run and then obviously we committed to a certain route for qualifying and it paid off.

“I was a bit dubious at first, and then we came in after our first run and had another misfire issue, so we had to replace a part of the engine wiring basically during the session.

“Then we went back out and managed to secure that in the last couple of minutes.”

The Kent racer admitted achieving the result was no mean feat, but was pleased to be able to put the car on the front row on merit and display the pace he feels he has possessed all season.

“It definitely wasn’t easy. I was pushing the old girl to her absolute limits! I’m just happy that we managed to stick it right up the front, it’s my first ever front row start in terms of actual qualifying pace which is fantastic.

“It was just nice to be able to pull a lap together, I knew it was in me.”

With the recurring misfires still a worry, Hill is hopeful that he will survive tomorrow’s trio of races at the 1.27-mile Scottish circuit without a mechanical failure.

“It’s still in the back of my head, which isn’t a great feeling to be honest,” he admitted.

“We arrive at every circuit thinking we’re on top of it, and then it surprises us again. I guess we just have to keep parts refreshed with the wiring on the engine and pray that it sees the three races through.”

The opening British Touring Car Championship race at Knockhill is scheduled to get underway at 11:10 BST tomorrow [30 August].

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