MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill was pleased to qualify on the front row for the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch, with the WSR driver feeling that starting second can sometimes be better than pole.
Hill was 0.167 seconds slower than stablemate Colin Turkington around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, meaning he will be sandwiched by the Team BMW 3-Series cars after Stephen Jelley put his car in third.
Despite missing out on pole, Hill was very pleased with the result, which was also the first-ever qualifying 1-2-3 for Dick Bennetts’ eponymous WSR squad.
“This is such a good result for ROKiT MB Motorsport and for BMW,” said Hill. “A one-two-three is pretty incredible, and I’m especially pleased for Dick as he’s never had one before in qualifying.
“Even though Colin got me at the end, I’m happy to be on the front row. I didn’t have hybrid after my pitstop so I’m glad I made it count when I had it, but even without it, I was pretty close to my best time.
“We’ll have a talk about tomorrow and work out what the best strategy is for the first few laps because it’s important to maximise the performance we have on race day.
“The times were so close in the top ten that we know that if we slip up on anything, there’ll be a lot of cars right behind ready to attack us.”
It means the front row of the grid will be a mirror of the front row in the season opener last time out, but for this weekend Hill feels that starting second could potentially be advantageous to give him a better run to the first corner.
“From my experience, it can be good to start second instead of pole here. It depends what weather we get tomorrow, I think it’s going to be glorious like it is today, so traction shouldn’t be an issue or anything. It’s possible, so if I do lead into turn one it will be fantastic!”
MB Motorsport’s Mark Blundell praised Hill for another front-row starting position – the seventh qualifying-earned front row of his BTCC career.
“Well done to all of the team on another excellent qualifying performance,” added Blundell. “We’re in a very good position to capitalise on this tomorrow and I know the team will give their all to maximise those results.
“Race day at Brands Hatch is always full of excitement and tomorrow will be no exception.”
Race one is scheduled to get underway at 11:30 BST.