No début season is easy for any new team entering the British Touring Car Championship, and its been no different for Mallory Park-based race team Paras Racing. The outfit is set to complete its first full season in the series at the Brands Hatch finale, which takes place in just over a week’s time.
Even with support for the team being bolstered by the serving members and veterans of the Parachute Regiment, along with the Parachute Regiment Band and Red Devils also in attendance, it was another hard-fought weekend for Derek Palmer.
The 28-year-old, based out of Zurich, finished 21st in race one, despite an incident involving Nick Hamilton and Stewart Lines costing him time, it was a positive nevertheless.
“The field is to tightly packed competitively, that it was difficult to close the gap back to the cars in front, but ultimately we were unlucky not to finish in the top 20,” explained the Scotsman.
Palmer was also fighting at the lower end of the field, and was even on the verge of breaking into the top 20 in race two, before Simon Belcher made contact with the Infiniti Q50.
“It was all pretty hectic at the start, but we did pretty well out of it,” he said.
“As the race progressed, Hunter caught me and got passed, but I managed to hold on to the back of him.
“Then everything started to close up again towards the last six or seven laps. The guys ahead were struggling; I caught them; the group behind me caught me, and all of a sudden we were a train of about five or six cars on the same part of the tarmac.
“Ultimately we made contact coming down into Turns 2 and 3. I got pushed from the rear by Simon, which then catapulted me into the back of Hunter.
“It’s frustrating, because again it ultimately it cost us a potential top 20 finish. It was a pity because we’d been racing and competing really well up until that point.”
With a sense of trepidation, Palmer used the soft tyres for the final race of the weekend, knowing the hard compound tyres supplied by Dunlop were just about lasting for a race.
“From our perspective, on our car, the performance just dropped off the edge of a cliff: ultimately we were about two-seconds a lap slower than where we wanted to be, despite me giving everything in the car.
“I think we were also loosing a bit of boost from the engine, but we need to analyse the figures to confirm that.
“But our biggest problem was that we simply couldn’t get the soft compound tyres to work for us this weekend.”
He eventually finished 23rd in race three, pushing on despite the adversities that had been put in his way over the three races at Silverstone’s National Circuit.
“We’ve got to the stage in the team’s development that we’re constantly raising the bar of expectation at every race weekend, and because of that we’re harsh on ourselves when we don’t meet those self-set goals,” he explained, ahead of the final weekend for the BTCC at Brands Hatch.
“But we’ll persevere. We always knew how tough entering the BTCC was going to be, but we’re in this for the long haul and we know the results will come.”