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Jake Hill ‘over the moon’ to enter mid-season break as points leader

Jake Hill was ‘over the moon’ to enter the British Touring Car Championship’s mid-season break as the drivers’ championship leader, after a win, a podium and a fifth elevated him to the top of the standings.

Having only been ‘fairly happy’ with his qualifying performance on Saturday, putting his BMW seventh for the opening race, the Laser Tools Racing driver made amends on Sunday.

Hill ran as high as fourth at the halfway stage in race one, but a mistake at the Island hairpin cost him two places and he took the chequered flag in sixth, which later became fifth when a rival was hit with a penalty.

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Hill got onto the podium in race two, gaining one position when Ash Sutton had to pit for remedial work to his car’s wheelarch and then powering past Dan Cammish at Hilltop on the final lap of the race to claim third.

That put Hill in fourth on the grid for the final race, and despite not making any ground at the start – both Cammish and Árón Taylor-Smith blocked his progress away from the line – Hill was quickly into third at Cascades past Cammish.

The 30-year-old then had to wait until the two thirds stage to get past the first Power Maxed Racing car of Taylor-Smith, before quickly catching race leader Mikey Doble.

Despite running out of hybrid boost, Hill took the lead with just half a lap left, having gone door-to-door with Doble into the chicane and prevailing around the outside.

Leaving a meeting at the top of the drivers’ standings for only the second time, Hill was delighted with his race day performance in Cheshire.

“I’m over the moon, especially as Saturday looked a little bit bleak in terms of outright pace – Tom ended up six and a half tenths up the road from me, which is a fair chunk considering he’s a championship contender,” said Hill to TouringCars.Net

“What matters is race day. We turned it around beautifully. Yes, I made a small mistake in race one with the lockup at the hairpin, I lost a couple of places, but I brought it back. I had a mega race two and an even better race three, so I really am chuffed to bits.

“Everyone was expecting me to really jump ahead [in race three] but everyone in front just made really good starts. You have to remember the BMW gets good starts a lot of the time, whereas front-wheel drive cars get good starts every now and then.

“It was just sods law that all three of them got a really good start and I obviously got an OK start – enough to get alongside Dan – but not enough to jump them all. But we made it back.”

Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing [WSR], BMW 330e M Sport NGTC
Hill and Doble fought until the very end of race three. Photo: Pat Cranham
Hill praised the close racing in the finale, praising both Power Maxed Racing drivers for their race craft.

“I didn’t want to out-brake myself again. I set him [Doble] up, made him go really defensive, and then committed to the outside on the exit and got it done around the outside into the first part of Knickerbrook.

“It was a good fair race between me, Mikey and Árón as well. Credit to them – Mikey drove a really good race, so fair play to the lad.

“Although I’m sorry I nicked his first win off him, at the same time I’ve got a championship to try and win. I’ve been there and done that, not quite in the same style. His day will come.”

“Obviously the hybrid is going to be a kick in the nuts for the next event, but at the same time I think we’ll still have a fairly strong car at Croft.

“Even if we don’t qualify right up there, I don’t think that necessarily matters – we can still have a strong car in the race.

“I’m excited to get to Croft and I’m really excited to get to Knockhill.”

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