MSA British Rallycross Championship driver Steve Hill bounced back after a troubled season opener at Croft, Yorkshire, last month.
Despite entering last Monday’s second round, at Lydden Hill, with far less track time than his main competitors, Hill was immediately able to put his four-wheel-drive, 590bhp Mitsubishi Evo X Supercar on his rivals’ pace. A very wet track made the initial stages of the meeting rather tricky, but Steve posted fourth-fastest heat race times in both Q1 and Q2.
As the day went by, track conditions improved, allowing Hill to set another competitive time in his Q3 run, earning him a front-row spot on the grid for the final. At this point, his hope was to implement an early joker lap strategy, aiming at a podium finish.
A number of aborted start procedures, however, put so much strain on the Evo’s transmission that a driveshaft eventually failed, forcing Steve to call himself out of the race, and on to an eventual seventh-place classification.
“We’re delighted to be on the pace. We wanted to be on the front row for the final here, which was quite a big ask because the level is really high this year, and we were. I think if it hadn’t been for the false starts we would have been okay, but we will go away and resolve the problems to try and ensure they don’t happen again,” said Hill.
“I’ve had less seat time than everybody else so far this season and I got more and more confident in the car all day. The changeable conditions didn’t help with trying some new setups out on the car, but we had good races, especially in Q1 and Q2.
“It’s especially good because after our problems in the first round at Croft, we’re running a bit of a compromised engine setup, so we are very pleased with our speed and can really move forward from here. Of course it’s disappointing not to have started the final, but the bigger picture looks very good.”
Before the series’ next round, at Pembrey on 25 June, the Steve Hill Rallycross Team hopes to find some time for testing, willing as they are to further improve the car, having now eliminated the issues that affected the previously troublesome transmission, and looking to introduce a fresh new engine on time for the next event.