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Hill hit with grid drop for BTCC Donington Park second race for Sutton incident

British Touring Car Championship star Jake Hill has copped a three-place grid penalty for the second race of the series opener at Donington Park.

Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport

Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport

JEP / Motorsport Images

Hill, who finished second in his West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330e M Sport, was held responsible for the incident that sidelined three-time champion Ash Sutton’s Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST.

The Kentishman has kept his second place in the results, but will start race two from fifth on the grid.

Hill made a better launch off the grid than Sutton and the polesitting Motorbase Ford of Dan Rowbottom, who was slow away.

Hill drew alongside Rowbottom and appeared to react to Sutton moving across the track. That led to contact between Hill and Rowbottom, which caused the BMW to then hit the Ford of Sutton from the rear.

Sutton was sent onto the grass by the contact, where the unlevel ground tore off the floor, which in turn pulled off the water radiator.

“I got a lovely launch,” said Sutton. “Dan then started moving across and after that I got hit in the back of the car [by Hill].

“That’s not classed as a significant overlap, and where there’s no significant overlap then you have to yield.”

Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST

Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“I didn’t get a good start,” said Rowbottom. “It was my first start in the wet with this car, and I was trying to be cheeky with the clutch.

“Then all hell broke loose because people are trying to win a championship before they even get to Turn 1 of the first race.

“He [Hill] turned across the front of me, and just used Ash to bounce off.”

Hill blamed Sutton for the contact.

“I had a fantastic start and chose to go through the middle of them. Dan Rowbottom was totally innocent, and as I got alongside him Sutton decided to chop me off, and the end result was he took himself out.”

Sutton’s non-finish means he will start race two from 26th on the 27-car grid, while Hill’s penalty means reigning champion Tom Ingram moves up onto the front row alongside first-race winner Dan Cammish, with Andrew Watson and Rowbottom on the second row.

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