MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square powered to the front row of the grid at Thruxton as the Motorbase Performance-run squad claim second on the grid for Sunday’s opener - courtesy of Jake Hill.
Following their return to the podium places at Knockhill, the MB Motorsport team arrived at Thruxton aiming to continue their run of success. With both drivers claiming points finishes in Fife, they travelled to Hampshire in confident mood - with Thruxton the site of their hattrick of rostrum visits at the season-opening round in May.
The first Free Practice session of the day welcomed Ollie and Jake to a cold track with cloudy skies overhead. As the morning wore on, the track began to warm up with both drivers making use of the changing conditions to improve their times until an accident for the BMW of Stephen Jelley caused a red flag and drew the session to an early finish - as Jake and Ollie ended the morning P11 and P16 respectively.
Consistency was king in the second Free Practice session as both Jake and Ollie’s fastest lap times were within six-hundredths of their FP1 bests. With just over 1.5 seconds covering the 29-strong grid, it was all to play for heading into Qualifying.
As Qualifying began, Jake was immediately on the pace with the BRDC SuperStar jumping into the top five in the early stages of the session, with Ollie continuing to improve on his morning lap times by three tenths. Entering the final ten minutes of the session, a sublime lap from Jake saw him briefly jump to the top of the timesheets - despite carrying 39kg of success ballast - before being pipped at the death by Team Dynamics' Dan Rowbottom by just 0.086s. Following his front-row performance, Jake is now joint leader of the Goodyear Wingfoot award alongside Colin Turkington.
Enjoying the team’s best qualifying result of the season so far, Jake and Ollie will line up P2 and P20 respectively and both drivers are looking forward to what’s set to be an incredibly exciting race day.
Ollie Jackson - Qualified P20 - #48 MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square:
“A mixed day on my side of the garage. I felt quite good in the car all day and continued to build up momentum and performance throughout practice and qualifying but the margins are just so close out there. A tenth or two of a second can gain you four or five places and unfortunately I fell just on the wrong side of that today. However, I believe we’ve got some good pace in the car so I look forward to working my way up the order tomorrow.”
Jake Hill - Qualified P2 - #24 MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square:
“It’s great to get our first front-row of the season. It could very easily have been pole position but I’m still very happy - and I’d like to say well done to Dan for an impressive lap too. As a package, our car really suits it round here and I’m very comfortable behind the wheel. We’ve set a great base on which we can build on tomorrow and hopefully get ourselves a few more podiums or even go one better and take it to the top step.”
Mark Blundell - Sporting Director, MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square:
“The team should be very pleased with their efforts today. The Ford Focus ST goes very well at Thruxton and they’ve done an excellent job in maximising the car’s performance. Jake did a fantastic job, it looked like he had pole at one point but the front-row is an excellent place to be starting regardless. Ollie was unfortunate to not quite get the lap together that he needed but he’s proven how well he can start and battle through the field so I expect we’ll see a similar rate of progress from him tomorrow.”