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Jake Hill scores "breakthrough" British Touring Car Championship podium at Brands Hatch

By Dan Wright

Jake Hill says scoring his first British Touring Car Championship podium at Brands Hatch on Sunday was a "breakthrough result".

The Goudhurst racer, 24, came from 25th on the grid to finish a sensational second behind Senna Proctor following an inspired switch to slick tyres before the start of race two.

Hill - who began his car racing career 10 years ago - had struggled in qualifying and race one, but bounced back in race two to score his best-ever finish, winning the independent drivers class.

Hill in action in a sensational race two. Picture: Simon Hildrew
Hill in action in a sensational race two. Picture: Simon Hildrew

"It is a breakthrough and it is what we have been working on for a very long time," Hill said.

"It has done me and the team a world of good and I can't thank everyone enough.

"It was an up and down day on Sunday - we had a horrible morning, amazing lunch and terrible ending."

An emotional Jake Hill on the race two podium. Picture: Simon Hildrew
An emotional Jake Hill on the race two podium. Picture: Simon Hildrew

Hill, who was set to start race three from fifth on the grid, was hit by Mercedes driver Aiden Moffat on the green flag lap.

He was forced to pull into the pits for repairs to a broken rear toe-link, and could only finish the race three laps down in 29th.

"I am disappointed about race three, but no one can take that podium away from me," Hill added.

Tom Ingram won race three and leads the championship. Picture: Simon Hildrew
Tom Ingram won race three and leads the championship. Picture: Simon Hildrew

"We decided last-minute to go to slicks in race two; it was always going to be sketchy, but very early on I knew we’d made the right choice.

"I am beyond happy and I am so grateful to so many people who have helped me get to this point."

Hill - who is driving for Strood-based Team Hard for the third year in succession - expects his Volkswagen CC to show well at the next round at Donington Park.

Tom Chilton leading team-mate James Cole in race one. Picture: Simon Hildrew
Tom Chilton leading team-mate James Cole in race one. Picture: Simon Hildrew

Team principal Tony Gilham said: "It is great for Jake to achieve a podium.

"We were very disappointed with qualifying on Saturday but it was great to bounce back on race day.

"We made a decent call on the tyres and it has taken us to the podium, which is great."

Brett Lidsey, from Northfleet, rolled on the first lap of the Renault Clio Cup race. Picture: Simon Hildrew
Brett Lidsey, from Northfleet, rolled on the first lap of the Renault Clio Cup race. Picture: Simon Hildrew
Lidsey retired from race one, but finished 15th on Sunday. Picture: Simon Hildrew
Lidsey retired from race one, but finished 15th on Sunday. Picture: Simon Hildrew

Meanwhile, Motorbase Performance's pace was unrewarded at Brands after the team's day became marred by a series of on-track incidents.

Ford Focus RS drivers Tom Chilton, James Cole and Sam Tordoff impressed in qualifying, but were out of luck on Sunday.

Team manager Oly Collins said: "We had a great start to the weekend with a strong qualifying and a solid race one result for both Tom and James.

Kiern Jewiss, from Maidstone, starred in the three British F4 championship races. Picture: Simon Hildrew
Kiern Jewiss, from Maidstone, starred in the three British F4 championship races. Picture: Simon Hildrew

"Unfortunately the safety car in race two enabled the circuit to dry, and then race three was just out of our hands with contact."

Tom Ingram leads the BTCC by three points following the opening three rounds after finishing fourth, 11th and first.

Michael Crees, from Broadstairs, scored three Am class victories in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup. Picture: Simon Hildrew
Michael Crees, from Broadstairs, scored three Am class victories in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup. Picture: Simon Hildrew

The British Touring Car Championship will return to Brands Hatch for the final three rounds on September 29-30.

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