Stephen Jelley said he “couldn’t quite believe” that he won race three of the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park, his first series victory since Rockingham 2009 and the maiden win for Team Parker Racing.
Jelley put in an impressive performance on the soft tyre in race two to progress from tenth to sixth, before running third for the majority of the final contest, eventually profiting from a late mistake by Rory Butcher and a penalty for Jake Hill to take the win.
He told TouringCars.Net he felt sorry for Hill, but was delighted to be able to reward the hard work and tough times he has endured over the last few seasons with Team Parker Racing.
“I’m very sorry to Jake, his Dad came and gave us the trophies and they’re absolutely gutted. He drove well – I didn’t see the incident so I can’t be a judge,” said Jelley.
“Really well done to everyone in the team, the car’s been great on raceday. We struggled in qualifying with turning the tyre on but in race trim we’ve had mega pace.
“It’s been tough at times and it’s difficult to take as a driver because everybody assumes you’ve gone off the ball or you’re not as good as you are.
“But you’re driving exactly the same as I’ve just driven then but it’s just not quite there. Getting to that point is a long haul and it’s tough.
“You’ve got to stay very strong in the head to maintain, but I’m glad we’re where we are now.”
Although Jelley was visibly happy with the victory, he admitted it had been slightly “tinged” with sadness for other competitors given the nature of the win, feeling he hadn’t been the fastest car in the final race.
“I can’t quite believe it to be honest, because obviously we didn’t cross the line first. It’s definitely fallen into our lap a little bit, because we weren’t the fastest car out there,” he said.
“You saw Rory was rapid, I think if we’d been on the soft tyre we would have been one of the fastest cars out there.
“I was hanging on to it to some degree, so to convert it into a win now is fantastic.
“There’s a slight tinge of sadness for the other guys but we’ll take it.”