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Derek Palmer Jr: ‘We prepared as best as we could’

Support Our Paras driver Derek Palmer Jr believes he and his Paras Racing team have “prepared as best as we could” for their maiden season in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), despite being reduced to just one car for the remainder of the season.

The team have endured a tumultuous campaign so far, first parting ways with second driver Richard Hawken before subsequently losing manufacturer backing from Infiniti. With the team struggling to fill the seat in their second Q50, they then lost their second TOCA BTCC Licence (TBL) from TOCA ahead of the Snetterton round.

Now heading to their home circuit at Knockhill, sole driver Palmer remains optimistic and believes that the team have done the best job they could have in their maiden season.

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“Everybody knows we’ve had something of a baptism of fire in the BTCC, with the early-season difficulties and the challenges we’ve faced establishing stability with the second driver in the team,” explained Palmer.

“It’s certainly not been easy, and a lot of things have conspired against us, but I think we’ve maximised the situation the best we could.

“[The challenge] has been massive. We knew what we were getting into coming into the BTCC – it’s nothing that’s surprised us. I think we prepared, as the Paras do, as best we could with what we had and the time we had, and we’ve just grafted and made progress as a team, as a driver and with the car.”

The Scot added that scoring his and the team’s first outright points with a 15th position in race two at Snetterton was a huge relief, and he is heading to Knockhill ‘on a high’ as a result.

“Snetterton was fantastic and highlighted to everyone just how much progress the team, the car and I have made this season.

“Racing at Knockhill is going to be massive for us. For me it’s quite a special track in the sense that it’s pretty different to anywhere else on the BTCC calendar.

“It’s got tons of character: it’s not like a number of the circuits we go to which are all pretty flat. Knockhill has undulations and significant gradient changes. Duffus Dip is going to be awesome in a BTCC car.

“Plus you can stand in the middle of the circuit and see a lot of the track from one place: I love it”

“Coming immediately after our performances at Snetterton, everyone in the team is on a high. Now we have to try and either equal it, or better it. Not only do I think we’ll be more suited to Knockhill than we were at Snetterton, unlike in Norfolk, I don’t need to learn the track.

“The gaps on the timesheets between cars are minimal in the BTCC, but our car is definitely capable of another top 15 position, and Knockhill is a good opportunity for us to achieve it again. We’re certainly going to be doing everything we can to deliver in front of our home crowd.”

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