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Race report
BTCC Snetterton (300 Circuit)

BTCC Snetterton: Hill beats Thompson to race one victory

Jake Hill took a lights-to-flag victory in the first British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Snetterton to get his season back on track.

Jake Hill, MB Motorsport

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Hill, who had a disastrous outing last time out at Brands Hatch, predictably converted his pole position into the race lead with his rear-wheel-drive West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330e M Sport, while new-for-this-weekend team-mate Bobby Thompson surged from fifth to third behind championship leader Ash Sutton’s Alliance Racing-run NAPA Ford Focus ST.

On a track that had dried out just in time for everyone to run slick tyres, Hill had extended a margin of almost 2.5 seconds by the end of the third lap over Sutton.

Far from taking the fight to Hill, Sutton began to come under pressure from Thompson, and the Essex charger made his move on the hybrid button to grab the runner-up spot into Riches on the sixth lap of 12.

Thompson even began to trim the gap to leader Hill, bringing it down to less than 2s with four laps remaining.

Hill then extended it back over 3s, before Thompson – with more hybrid available – cut the margin back to 1.922s by the chequered flag.

“The car was just absolutely beautiful to drive,” said Hill. “It was one of those nice, easy race wins – they don’t happen very often, but I’d like to think I controlled it nicely and brought it home.

“Fantastic for Bob to take second on his first race with us – it brings me a little bit of back-up for the next race.”

Adam Morgan ran fourth early on in his WSR BMW, but was falling away from the leading trio and got involved in a scrap with the Alliance Ford of Dan Cammish.

Cammish blasted past on the start-finish straight with five laps remaining, and next time around Andrew Watson dived his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla GR Sport down the inside of the BMW for fifth at the Wilson hairpin.

Next to target Morgan was Tom Ingram, who had made incisive progress from 13th on the grid in his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N, including a fantastic side-by-side battle with fellow champion Colin Turkington.

Ingram had saved what little hybrid he had for the late stages, and surged past Morgan into Riches to take sixth position with two tours remaining, before snatching fastest lap on the final time around from Hill, who had left two laps of hybrid unused in his pocket.

The top eight, completed by Turkington, all ran on the soft Goodyear tyre in this race, but Rob Huff took his Speedworks Toyota to ninth on the medium, with Dan Rowbottom 10th in his Alliance Ford.

The top 10 will therefore all have to use the hard tyres in the second race under the BTCC sporting regulations.

Josh Cook, from sixth on the grid, gambled on the hard tyre for this race, but slipped wide at the esses on the first lap and eventually took his Speedworks Toyota to 14th place.

Chris Smiley ran strongly in the top 10 early in the race, but was forced to the pits by a black-and-orange flag when the left-side door on his Restart Racing Cupra Leon came open.

BTCC Snetterton Race 1 Results to follow

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