Fifth place in GT Supercup seals return for Jake Hill
IT HAS been a long road for Goudhurst teenager Jake Hill but his future in touring cars now appears to be back on track after he returned to action at Oulton Park last weekend.
Hill, 18, finished fifth overall at the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup on the challenging Cheshire circuit after not racing since October 2011.
The youngster had finished last season on a high with two race wins but issues with funding had kept him out of competition for nine months before a deal was hammered out last week.
Hill's old team Tollbar Racing gave him a seat in a 370bhp Ginetta G55 and with last-minute financial assistance secured from a number of sources he was ready to start racing.
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With everything finally in place by Tuesday, Hill had just two days to get to the circuit to prepare himself and the car for action and he was delighted with his performance.
He said: "I'm really pleased with how it went.
"It was hard going straight into a race on one of the toughest tracks in the country against guys who've done nine races this year in these cars.
"It's been a battle to raise the funds, but my dad and me have some wonderful people who have stepped in to make it happen so I wanted to make them proud.
"I was starting to get more and more confident with the car and was really pleased I was able to lap at the same pace as Tom Sharp who leads the championship and has already won eight races so far this season.
"The car is great but really different to the G50 I raced last season. I feel confident that with a day's testing I can be right up there.
"I just really want to race at the next event at Croft in two weeks as it's the circuit I won my first ever race on in 2009."
Hill qualified in 11th place on a wet track and disaster was averted when an illegal differential was noticed and removed, though this did curtail his time on the track.
The following day's race one was in dry conditions leaving Hill unsure what to expect from the handling of the car but he drove well to finish in sixth.
Starting Sunday's televised race two in sixth position, Hill made a good start and gained a place before a little mistake saw him drop down the field.
However, he recovered later in the race and drove the remaining laps smoothly and consistently to finish in a well-earned fifth.
For his dad, Simon, it has been a difficult few months but seeing his son competing again made it all worthwhile.
He said: "It's been a bit tough to say the least but it was great to see him racing again.
"I was so proud of him and the way he handled himself.
"Jake never complained despite all the difficulties and said he was here to race so he got on with it.
"It was difficult for him after the momentum last year but he's remained positive and kept going to the gym to stay fit.
"When the opportunity came he was chuffed to bits.
"Some of the other competitors don't have to worry about funding issues, but we are not complaining about it.
"That is the nature of the beast and you just have to find a solution, which we have."