Jake Hill claimed another victory in the British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone – the MB Motorsport driver’s second in a week – keeping him in title contention.
After a disastrous day on Saturday, in which the Ford Focus driver failed to break into the top 20 all day, Hill focussed his efforts on Sunday on securing a race three podium as a minimum.
Although he was briefly up to 18th in the opening encounter, the 27-year-old almost failed to make any progress by the chequered flag, having battled hard for 21st with Jack Butel, Jack Goff and Tom Chilton throughout the race.
Free of the 66 kg of ballast for race two, Hill made more progress than any other driver to end the race in ninth, which put him in contention for the random reverse-grid draw for the final sprint.
Selected to start from third for race three, Hill quickly dispatched Jason Plato at the start before closing in on the other Power Maxed Vauxhall of Dan Lloyd in the lead.
Hill made a clean pass for the lead exiting Luffield on the tenth lap, and despite sustained pressure from Lloyd for the rest of the race he held on to take his second win of the year, and the third of his BTCC career.
“It was all falling to pieces because in race one we didn’t go anywhere – we went somewhere and then fell back,” explained Hill to TouringCars.Net. “Then in races two and three, all the magic happened.
“Race three was fantastic. I really enjoyed my race with Dan – he’s a very fair competitor and he’s fast and put up a good fight.
“When I did get alongside him, he wasn’t an idiot to drive me to the gravel or whatever, we stayed side-by-side and battled it out as you should.
“I have a lot of respect for Dan; I really enjoyed racing him and I’d happily do it any other time.
“It’s been a long time since my winning streaks were regular – you’d have to go back to my Ginetta Junior days for that to have happened. It’s a lovely feeling.”
Hill admitted to being lost as to why he hadn’t been higher up the order in qualifying on Saturday, and he didn’t resort to blaming his ballast for the poor race one grid position.
“Honestly, we don’t really know. We changed something on the car, and we found all the grip we were missing.
“The problem was a lack of front grip and at the same time mix that with a load of snap oversteer through Turn 1.
“It wasn’t a particularly happy car to begin with. Everything that our normal setup, that we’d run all year and which has obviously worked well at other tracks, doesn’t like it here, so we had to really think hard about how we were going to get around something so different.
“It was always [a case of] ‘can we get to race three in a position to challenge for a podium?’ and obviously we accomplished that – that was always the aim.
“It was never just about going for it, it was about thinking logically and just gaining positions one place at a time.”
With championship leader Ash Sutton having now extended his advantage to 36 points, an increase of seven points, Hill admits that he has to not be distracted about what his rival is achieving at present.
“There’s nothing we can do, we just have to be as quick as we can and hope that he has a bad weekend like we have had, in that sense, up until race three.
“It happens – you can just rock up somewhere and the pace not be in the car. We can’t control what he is doing, we can only control what we’re doing, and we just need to be as fast as possible.”