MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square picked up a brace of top ten finishes from what would prove to be a challenging second race day of the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch.
The team headed into the weekend seeking to bounce back from a tough season opener at Donington Park a week earlier, with Jake Hill seeking to put his first points on the board and Sam Osborne looking to add to his tally after a personal best of seventh that would prove to be the highlight from round one.
Saturday saw both cars running well on the team's home circuit, with Jake topping both practice sessions and qualifying in a personal best fourth, and Sam heading the Jack Sears Trophy runners in 16th having improved his lap times across the course of the day.
When the lights went out for the start of the opening race, Jake lost a spot to the fast-starting BMW of Colin Turkington, but was quickly in the groove and ran in a solid fifth through the opening half of the race before coming under ever-increasing pressure from Tom Ingram.
Ingram was able to make a move stick for position on lap twelve just before the safety car was called out to remove a stricken car from the side of the circuit, and he would eventually take the chequered flag in tenth having struggled with the handling of the car in the closing stages.
It would be a tough opening race for Sam, who saw his chances of points ended after contact on track forced him to make an unscheduled pit stop, dropping him off the lead and resulting in a 24th place finish.
From tenth on the grid for race two, Jake made up two races on the opening lap and was running in a solid eighth when the race went behind the safety car after an incident further down the pack.
Making up a place on the restart when Tom Chilton’s Honda slowed to the pits, Jake made a fine move on Tom Oliphant’s BMW to move into the top six when the engine on his car suddenly let go heading onto the GP loop, forcing him to retire and leaving the team with work to do ahead of race three.
Starting on the penultimate row of the grid after his race one dramas, Sam made a storming start in the sister car to climb five places on the opening lap, and had worked his way into 17th before the safety car period.
The #4 Honda would continue to charge forwards after the restart as Sam fought his way into 14th but he would be forced to contend with over-heating issues in the final laps and slipped to 16th despite showing the pace to more than match the top six.
Knowing the strong pace in the Honda, both drivers went into race three confident of pushing for points, with the team working hard to replace the engine on Jake's car so he could take his place on the grid.
From 21st, Jake rocketed up into the points on the opening lap and had climbed into the top ten before contact from Matt Neal at Graham Hill Bend caused a puncture; a hugely frustrating end result from a race where his Honda had been one of the quickest cars on track.
For Sam however, the weekend would end on a positive note as he secured tenth place in the sister car, building on the encouraging pace he had shown in the opening rounds to pick up his second top ten finish of the campaign.
In the Porsche Carrera Cup, MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square development driver Esmee Hawkey maintained her strong start to the season with two further Pro Am class wins - giving her a 100 per cent win record from the opening two rounds.
The team now heads for Oulton Park in Cheshire for round three of the season in two weeks time.
Shaun Hollamby, Team Principal, MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square:
“As at Donington Park, we leave Brands Hatch frustrated that we haven't been able to pick up the results that our pace deserved. We showed how quick we were on Saturday and it's unfortunate that things have transpired against us on race day as we could have secured some really strong results. We have a short break now to regroup ahead of Oulton Park and hopefully we can fight for some silverware in a few weeks time."
Mark Blundell, Sporting Director, MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square:
"As at Donington Park, we have seen the way in which motorsport can be full of highs and lows and it is unfortunate that we weren't able to score some top results this weekend. Both Jake and Sam are driving well and the team is doing a great job but we haven't had luck on our side, and that is a big part of racing. I have no doubt that we will come out fighting at Oulton Park and can push for the results we are capable of."
Jake Hill, #24 MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Honda Civic Type R:
“Qualifying on the second row, I was hugely confident coming into race day and was sure that we could go away from the weekend with some good points on the board. The first race proved to be more challenging than I expected as the handling of the car wasn't quite there, but we were still in a good position ahead of race two to add some more solid results and get our season on track. To then have two retirements that were outside our control is massively frustrating and doesn't reward the team for the fantastic work they have done over two challenging weekends to start the year. We know the Honda is a quick car and we'll be ballast free at Oulton Park where hopefully my luck will change for the better."
Sam Osborne, #4 MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Honda Civic Type R:
“I'm pleased to end the weekend with a top ten and if you'd offered me that earlier on then I'd have bitten your hand off. We played the long game today after a difficult and it paid off in that final race. It was a bit chaotic with a lot of things happening on track but I was rewarded in the end and it's great to have score points in both rounds so far, even if we could have picked up even more. Last year, I only just managed to scrape a top 15 finish and that was in a race where everything fell in my favour, so it's great that I've picked up two top ten finishes already this season."
Photos courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography.