THE MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square team battled back from a difficult start to race day to secure another top ten finish from the latest rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton.
The team headed for the fastest circuit on the calendar looking to build on podium finishes in the previous two events at Oulton Park and Knockhill, and a strong Saturday saw Jake Hill put his Honda Civic Type R in fifth place on the grid for the opening race of the weekend.
Team-mate Sam Osborne in the sister Honda meanwhile would line up 23rd on the grid, with his focus on trying to fight his way forwards into the points on race day.
The opening race started well for the team as Jake was able to maintain his starting position, despite contact at turn one as rival Tom Chilton took the grass whilst trying to make a move for position and clattered into the side of the #24 Honda. Jake would hold his position through the early laps before the right rear tyre let go as a result of the earlier contact, leading to him being forced into the pits and dropping him off the lead lap.
Showing front-running pace on his return the circuit, he was left with an undeserved 22nd place finish.
Sam stayed out of trouble in the early stages of the race and then set about trying to work his way forward into the top 20 and had climbed into 19th spot before an unfortunate spin at Noble dropped him down the order. Forced to make a precautionary pit stop, Sam rejoined three laps down, which meant he would be unclassified in the end results.
The pair would start together on the twelfth row of the grid for race two but Jake was soon making up places when the action got underway, breaking into the top 20 by the end of lap one.
Into the points by lap four having made up seven places, Jake would set the quickest lap amongst the Independent class drivers as he charged through to eleventh place; missing out on the top ten by less than half a second. Sam would lap consistently in the sister car before taking the chequered flag in 22nd spot.
Having missed out on the reverse grid draw for the final race, Jake’s focus was on trying to push forwards into the top ten, and he capped a challenging race day with a ninth place finish, lapping as quick as the leading runners despite running in traffic throughout.
Sam would again finish up in 22nd spot, with the team now heading for Silverstone next weekend for the sixth round of the season.
Shaun Hollamby, Team Principal, MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square:
“We’ve shown that we have the pace to run with the front pack again this weekend but unfortunately things didn’t fall our way on race day. The margins are so fine in the BTCC and on another day, the contact Jake had in race one wouldn’t have had an impact and he’d have been able to finish near the front and collect three strong points finishes.
“It’s been tough for Sam but we have to remember that he is only in his second season and is still learning every time he goes out on track, so I have no doubt he’ll come back stronger at Silverstone next week.”
Mark Blundell, Sporting Director, MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square:
“To come back through to take a top ten finish is a good end to race day for Jake and showed the pace that we have in the car; it’s just a shame that we weren’t able to push for a podium finish as I think that was certainly achievable had race one gone to plan. It’s been more of a challenge for Sam but he has shown elsewhere what he can do and I’m confident he’ll soon be challenging for more points to add to his tally.”
Jake Hill, #24 MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Honda Civic Type R:
“We didn’t get the results I think we deserved today, but it’s still been my best Thruxton weekend in terms of how I’ve driven. It’s a shame with what happened in race one but, we did well in race two to make up a lot of places and had a clean run in race three. This has still been a solid showing for us and the car hasn’t missed a beat.
“We’ve lost a little bit of success ballast as a result of this weekend which will be a bonus heading to Silverstone and I think we’ll be quick there and can push for some strong results.”
Sam Osborne, #4 MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Honda Civic Type R:
“It’s been a tough weekend for me and I would have liked to do better, but I just have to pick myself up and look to come back stronger next weekend. I haven’t done as many laps here as I have done elsewhere, and it’s such a tricky track to master but motorsport is full of highs and lows, and this happened to be a low. There is only a week until Silverstone which means I won’t dwell on this weekend for too long, and will hope to push for points next time out.”