Jake Hill secured his first win in the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park, but could face disciplinary action from the stewards after a controversial move for the race lead causing Matt Neal to spin.
Hill led from pole but was being put under increasing pressure from Neal’s Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic. Neal challenged for the race lead on the outside of the Hairpin on lap two, but Hill muscled out the three-time champion to keep the lead.
The Halfords Yuasa Racing driver did manage to overtake Hill at the end of the lap when he got a good run coming out of Lodge before finishing the move whilst braking for turn one. Hill looked for a cut-back on exit but tagged the rear right corner of Neal spinning him out forcing Jason Plato and Tom Ingram to take avoiding action forcing both to later retire.
This left Hill with a big gap of over five seconds and allowed Rory Butcher to come through to second with Stephen Jelley holding a podium position in third.
The battle for fourth was heating up with Tom Oliphant piling on the pressure on Sam Tordoff. After a couple of laps of trying Oliphant finally made the move stick.
Butcher chased down the big gap that Hill had been given as a result of the earlier incident and was now looking very quick. As they went into the Hairpin for the penultimate time, Butcher attempted to swoop around the outside but locked up on the oil laid down by Plato’s Vauxhall and ran out wide dropping to sixth.
This allowed Jelley through to second and Oliphant into third as Hill crossed the line to take his first BTCC victory before being confronted by an angry Neal post-race.
“That was incredible. I can’t put the words together to explain it,” said Hill. “I’ve got to thank the team and all my sponsors to make it possible.
“It’s such a shame about the incident with Matt (Neal). I wanted to fight him hard and fair. I got the undercut on him at turn one, and as he came across, he just caught the front of my car. I didn’t want it to happen like that. I respect Matt hugely but sometimes that’s racing.”
Second place finisher Jelley spoke about the smoke from Neal’s spinning car as he thought ‘where do I go?’
“I just saw a load of smoke and thought ‘where do I go?” said Jelley. “It worked out and then it was just head down. Rory (Butcher) was quick and he just overcooked it into that hairpin. I was giving it everything I could to put Jake (Hill) off and it didn’t happen. He drove a great race.”
“It was really great racing through the opening laps,” said Oliphant. “There was oil down the whole race and luckily for me my car was still good off the line so it coped nicely. I’m over the moon to bring the car home in third and finally join my team-mates on the podium.”
Coming home fourth was Tordoff with Jordan rounding out another solid day in fifth. Sixth was the hard charging Butcher whom must be a little bit disappointed with his error that cost him a podium position.
Seventh was Josh Cook, eighth was Ashley Sutton, Colin Turkington ninth with Aiden Moffat rounding out the top-10.
Turkington leaves Oulton Park as he came into, with the championship lead as the series heads into the summer break before bursting back into action at Snetterton at the start of August.
Header image from BTCC
By Jordan Hollands.