Jake Hill was delighted with his qualifying effort at Brands Hatch, after the MB Motorsport turned around a ‘pretty abysmal morning’ to put his Ford Focus in third on the grid for the first British Touring Car Championship race.
Having been just ninth and 17th fastest in the first two practice sessions of the day, Hill admitted he had been struggling with the set-up on his Ford Focus ST prior to qualifying.
Working with his engineer, Hill was able to find a setup much more suited to him for qualifying, where he put in the third fastest lap of the day, to go just a tenth of a second slower than the pole position time set by Daniel Rowbottom.
Hill’s time came in the early part of the session, and he held the top spot until just six minutes from the end when Rowbottom and team-mate Gordon Shedden edged him out.
The 27-year-old, who had led the championship after the first round of the BTCC at Thruxton but now sits fifth, also endured an off through the gravel in the session as he tried harder to improve his time, ultimately to no avail.
“Third is an amazing recovery for me and the team after what’s been a pretty shocking morning of free practice sessions,” said Hill.
“I’m absolutely thrilled, my engineer Craig [Porley] reinvented the wheel a little bit, and a huge thank you to my team MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square.
“It was a little bit lairy [through the gravel], but we got away with it and managed to go again. My first run in the car was at its best for sure, and my second run we maybe left it a little bit late.
“Maybe we should have back-to-backed them, but hindsight is a lovely thing. Third, from what has been a pretty abysmal morning, I’m absolutely over the moon with and really excited for the races.
“I don’t know what to expect on Sunday, we’ve made a massive improvement today. The only thing is, we haven’t done a race run on this setup, so it’s going to be a little bit of the unknown, but I just hope it rains a little bit and I can put slicks on again.”