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SECOND ROW START FOR LASER TOOLS RACING WITH MB MOTORSPORT AT KNOCKHILL
Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport enjoyed a strong Saturday performance at Knockhill as Jake Hill claimed a second-row start for race day after qualifying in P3, just 0.029 seconds away from pole position at the Scottish circuit. An off in the first stage of qualifying threatened Hill’s progression into the top-ten shootout but a combined miraculous recovery from the impressive West Surrey Racing crew and Hill allowed the Kent-based driver to show his true pace. In typical Knockhill style, it was a day of all seasons at the Fife circuit and wet conditions greeted the first practice session of the day. With wet tyres bolted on, Jake set about making an impression towards the top of the timesheets in his BMW 330e M Sport. Leading the times for the majority of the session, a couple of late flyers from Collard and Cook saw the Laser Beamer close FP1 in P3, less than a tenth behind the overall leader. The rain continued to fall for the final practice session of the weekend and Jake and the #24 crew continued to show their pace to the rest of the field. Flying high at the top of the timesheets, Jake and his engineer, Craig Porley, made the decision to park the car for the final ten minutes of the session as conditions worsened. With no late improvers, the Laser Tools Racing man finished the morning in top spot.
As qualifying rolled around, Knockhill was blessed by the brightest conditions of the day but track conditions were still very damp. An early flying lap, placed Jake comfortably inside the top five during the early exchanges with all eyes on the top ten who would make their through to qualifying two and the head-to-head shootout. Unfortunately, drama then beckoned as an off in sector one forced Jake back into the pits and the WSR crew into some double-paced work to replace the #24 car’s front splitter. As the time ticked on, track conditions improved and Hill was forced outside of the top ten. With nerves increasing in the garage and behind the wheel, the WSR crew completed the job with just under five minutes to spare to release Jake back down the pit lane. Having brought his tyres up to temperature, Jake faced an all-or-nothing final lap where he showcased his ability to thrive under pressure. Clocking a 51.535, the Laser Tools Racing man catapulted from the bottom of the order to the top of it as he closed the first qualifying session in P1.
Next up was the all-important top-ten shootout with all the championship contenders making their way through. During the early exchanges, pole would change back and forth between Josh Cook and championship-leader Ash Sutton with Jake biding his time to deliver a representative lap time. Just as it looked as if the opportunity may have been missed, the 29-year-old pulled a 51.296 lap time out of the bag, his fastest of the day. This time, despite being just 0.029 seconds off of pole position, earned Jake a third-placed starting position for race one on Sunday.