END-OF-SEASON FRUSTRATIONS FOR TEAM PARKER RACING
Team Parker Racing’s Stephen Jelley endured a frustrating weekend at Brands Hatch during the final rounds of the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, as he struggled to convert qualifying pace into race results.
Having sealed 11th during Saturday’s qualifying session, his best of the season, Jelley headed into Sunday conscious that the deteriorating weather conditions would present some challenges for his BMW 125i M Sport.
Despite running as high as ninth in the opening laps, Jelley would struggle for grip on the damp 1.2-mile Indy circuit during Sunday’s first race, eventually crossing the line just outside of the points, in 16th.
Race two began as another tricky encounter for the Team Parker Racing man, who initially dropped back to 21st. An impressive recovery drive saw the 38-year-old pick off the pack as his slick tyres came into play, taking 17th spot at the chequered flag.
Jelley’s 2020 campaign came to an unfortunate end in race three as, following a heavy downpour prior to the contest, a spin at Druids and contact would result in significant damage and subsequent retirement for the #12 machine.
The Team Parker Racing squad now turns its attention to the forthcoming campaign, with a shorter-than-usual off season, before the BTCC returns to Brands Hatch’s Indy circuit on 3/4 April.
“It was disappointing,” reflected Jelley. “It was a good effort in qualifying in the wet as this car has never been that strong in those sorts of conditions and the huge amount of standing water did not suit our car at all. Unfortunately, a rear-wheel-drive car isn’t the best in mixed conditions, and I had several taps, was pushed sideways, and had potential for really big moments and just about got away with it.
“In race three I was tapped into a spin for no fault of our own and collected by another car. I didn’t do anything wrong: somebody put us into that spin and someone else has rear-ended a stationary object. That’s just how the season was going to end for us, though there were some bright spots early on, with a podium at Brands Hatch on the Grand Prix circuit.”