TEAM PARKER RACING RETURNS TO SCENE OF RECENT SUCCESS
Team Parker Racing enjoyed a return to the Kwik British Touring Car Championship podium under hot, sunny skies on the challenging Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit last time out, and now the squad heads to the scene of its last BTCC win – Oulton Park.
Stephen Jelley – who scored a maiden BTCC podium finish for the team at Brands Hatch last year – repeated the feat with a well-earned third place in race three at the Kent circuit earlier this month, after taking two ninth place results in his BMW 125i M Sport in the opening races.
Lining up fourth on the grid for the final contest of the afternoon, the Leicester driver flew off the line into second place and was challenging for the lead before the rapid Rory Butcher and Ash Sutton sneaked past. However, with a problem for the former, Jelley was able to settle into a comfortable third place, recording a great podium finish for the squad.
Hopes are now high for a continuation of form and good results as the team returns to BTCC action at Oulton Park this weekend. Last year was a memorable visit to Cheshire, as Jelley recorded a maiden series victory for the team, and he is aiming to challenge for further podium finishes this time out too.
“It’s been really good,” said Jelley. “I thought we should have done a little bit better in qualifying at Brands Hatch – the car felt great and we did a solid job, but it’s very competitive and some of the front wheel drive guys can take a bit more of a risk and use the scenery to get the lap time.
“In race trim, two ninth places were good and then we built on that with the reverse grid race three. If you can make a nice start and make it stick, then it’s all good. The front wheel drive cars tend to make a worse start, but their tyres switch on faster, so there is a three or four corner window where our front just doesn’t hook up as well.
“I’m really happy that we were able to hang on because Brands GP is not a natural circuit for our car, and we got another podium for Team Parker Racing and another pot for the shelf!
“We won at Oulton Park last year and I think we’re in a better place this time with what we’ve done to the car. Our general level of performance is better so I would hope we would qualify higher up the grid too.
“It is a circuit that is big on brakes and tyres and that’s something we are good at, so we will look to qualify in the top ten. Come the races, it is a real overtaking circuit which suits our car and one where we can really attack to get that podium finish.”
As ever, fans can watch live coverage of all the action on Sunday (23 August) on ITV4 and online at ITV Hub from 1150, with qualifying being shown on Saturday afternoon at www.itv.com/btcc.