Support Our Paras Racing driver Derek Palmer Jr was pleased by the improved pace that he showed at Oulton Park, after a difficult build up to the fourth round of the British Touring Car Championship season for he and his team.
The team announced it and Infiniti – who had initially given factory support to the project – had parted ways a week prior to the event, with uncertainty surrounding the second seat alongside Palmer with Martin Donnelly, who himself replaced Richard Hawken at Thruxton, having had his drive subsidised by the manufacturer.
With such short notice ahead of the visit to the Cheshire circuit, the team were eventually forced to enter a single car for Palmer despite interest in the second seat.
But despite his team’s off-track difficulties, Palmer was able to move those issues aside with three more precious race finishes for the fledgling outfit, including his first six points as an independent driver following the split from Infiniti.
And having moved forward throughout the weekend, Palmer was particularly pleased with his exploits in race three, having battled with some of the bigger names in the sport.
“I’m very happy,” he said. “The race pace is significantly improved, and we can now comfortably mix it with the guys in the midfield. I struggled a little bit to bring the tyres up to temperature at the start of Race 3, but overall I’m really happy: our pace is actually there now.
“The pace in Race 3 was mega. I managed to keep Rob Collard — a BTCC race winner — behind me for a few laps, which was really encouraging, and showed how we’ve improved our pace. That was a nice feeling.
“I flat-spotted the tyres on Lap 1, so I was driving with a flat-spot the whole race. It was getting worse and worse, so I was happy it lasted to the end.”
The 28 year-old was also also happy to be moving attention away from the politics surrounding his team, towards his aspirations to run further up the field.
“We’ve now established a new baseline for future development. This weekend has been massive for us, and begins to show the true potential of the car. It’s been our best race weekend so far this season, and our pace is there. We’re hanging on in there now with the midfield; let’s move further forward.”