Derek Palmer bagged a 1-2-3 finish for Support Our Paras Racing today when he scored the team’s first British Touring Car Championship points.
Palmer, racing for the first time this season as an Independent — and watched by the Red Devils who dropped in — delivered three impressive drives at Oulton Park, notching points in all three races.
After scoring his first point after finishing 15th in class in the opener, Palmer improved to 14th in Race 2 — registering two points — before going one step further in the day’s final, scoring three points for 13th.
“That’s mega: awesome,” Palmer said after being told of his achievements. “It’s the perfect way to end what has been a difficult few weeks for the team. Now we have a new, solid base to work and develop from. I’m very happy.”
This was the first weekend Support Our Paras Racing had raced since Infiniti withdrew its backing for the new team. The Mallory Park-based team’s race cars are prepared by injured ex-servicemen from the Parachute Regiment, with all team profits being donated to Support Our Paras, the official Regiment charity.
It was a day of notable firsts for the fledgling team. Not only did Support Our Paras Racing score its first 19 points in the Independents Team Trophy, but Palmer took three podium finishes in the Jack Sears Trophy for BTCC rookies.
After finishing third in the opening two races, Palmer was second in the day’s final race. He now stands fourth in the race for the prestigious Jack Sears Trophy, just 18 points off third. And Palmer was delighted with his, and the team’s performances throughout the weekend, especially in the day’s final race.
“I’m very happy,” the 28-year-old admitted. “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.
“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, so yeh, let’s move further forward.”
*Support Our Paras Racing is back in action on June 27/28 at Croft.
Photos: Copyright Jakob Ebrey