HILL THE OVERTAKER Snetterton, Monday (May 31, 199): California's Derek Hill had mixed fortunes racing in the Spring Bank Holiday race meeting at Britain's Snetterton circuit. Although this was the...
HILL THE OVERTAKER
Snetterton, Monday (May 31, 199): California's Derek Hill had mixed fortunes racing in the Spring Bank Holiday race meeting at Britain's Snetterton circuit. Although this was the former Barber Dodge Champion's first race at the track, close to the Lotus factory, he finished 13th and 17th in the two races counting for the ultra-competitive series. In both events Hill had started from the back of the 25 field following qualifying dramas.
In the two 14 lap races Hill, in only his second meeting back after the major Brands Hatch accident which saw him hospitalized, showed his tenacity and overtaking skill. Indeed in the first race despite starting from the back of the grid he quickly moved up the field and was challenging fellow American Jeff Shafer at the finish.
Hill had started from the back of the grid in the race having slipped off the circuit on cold tires on his second flying lap.
After this incident Derek's qualifying for the second race was naturally hampered and although his time of 1minute 04.337seconds was only 0.779 seconds off the pole, it left him only 22nd. In the race he again moved quickly up the field but was unhappy to lose a place on the last lap when a rival short cut the chicane and passed him, leaving Derek in 17th spot.
Commented Hill afterwards, "At the moment I'm not getting the top finishes but I'm just learning so much at every meeting. This championship is so competitive and everyone is so close. This week Martyn Smith got his sums correct and having previously run out of the top ten, scored two podium finishes."
Continued Hill " Our next meeting in three weeks time is back at Brands Hatch on the full Grand Prix circuit, hopefully I can show my true ability."
Race victories went to Northern Ireland's Richard Lyons and England's Justin Keen but the series is led by Richard Tarling, who last year finished third in the Championship. On hand at Snetterton was Series winner Justin Wilson, whose prize for taking the 1998 championship was a fully funded European F3000 ride, the previous day he had finished sixth at Barcelona.