Hill back in title hunt after winning dramatic Silverstone opener

Laser Tools Racing BMW's Jake Hill won a dramatic opening British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone after making the right tyre call in the greasy conditions.
Jake Hill - Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport BMW 330e M
Jake Hill - Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport BMW 330e M

With drizzle lingering in the air, much of the field surprisingly elected to run the slick tyre, while a handle of drivers, including Hill, selected the wet tyre. It proved to be an inspired decision as the drizzle intensified enough to cause chaos for the slick tyre runners.

In addition to the changeable conditions, drama had already hit the race after the maiden BTCC pole-sitter Mikey Doble relinquished his position at the front of the grid in a bizarre moment of confusion.

Instead of settling into his P1 grid slot, the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall driver continued for what he assumed would be a second formation lap. As the rest of the field took to the grid, Doble found himself out of position and half-way round the circuit.

With Doble out of the picture, Hill immediately charged into the lead from third on the grid and it was a lead he would never relinquish.

Thanks to the majority of the usual front-runners experiencing the consequences of opting for the wrong tyre, Hill romped to what proved to be an easy win to move 20-points closer to championship leader Ash Sutton.

Crucially, Sutton and Tom Ingram were both forced to peel into the pits early in race and change to the wet tyre, which dropped the pair out of contention and a lap down.

Hill's dominant win means the BMW driver is second in the championship, while Ingram, who failed to capitalise on the drama, falls a point behind in third position.

Despite finishing outside of the points, Sutton has still preserved a 41-point lead over Hill, but will start race two from 23rd position.

Dan Rowbottom salvaged a podium finish for the NAPA Racing Ford squad after beating Power Maxed Racing's Andrew Watson to second in the dying stages of the race.

Adam Morgan survived a mid-race trip to the gravel to secure fourth ahead of Team HARD's Bobby Thompson in fifth.

Toyota Gazoo Racing's Rory Butcher finished as the top slick tyre runner in sixth position. As the race began to come back to slick shod cars midway through the race, Butcher’s Toyota Corolla was able to make up ground on the wet runners.

Such was the pace of the dry tyre late in the race, Aron Taylor-Smith set the fastest lap of the race to follow Butcher home in seventh.

Sam Osborne, Josh Cook and Dan Lloyd completed the remainder of the top-ten in eighth, ninth and tenth.

Elsewhere, four-time champion Colin Turkington endured a nightmare start to his race-day after rapidly falling down the order from second on the grid.

Turkington was another who selected the dry tyre and ended up heading back to the pits for early repairs after suffering contact in the chaos of the opening lap.

The Team BMW driver was eventually classified 26th.

Read More