JELLEY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT CONTINUING PODIUM RUN AT THRUXTON
Team BMW driver Stephen Jelley heads to Thruxton this weekend (28/29 August), optimistic about continuing his run of podium finishes in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.
The Leicestershire-based racer claimed second place at Oulton Park before the summer break and followed it up with third at Knockhill just over a week ago, climbing to eighth in the Drivers’ Championship, just 25 points behind team-mate Colin Turkington in third position.
Jelley opened the 2021 season at the Hampshire venue – the fastest in the United Kingdom – but suffered bad luck as a broken gear linkage cost him in qualifying and, despite making up an excellent 16 places in race two to put himself in contention for the final encounter, mixed weather conditions then caused his wet tyres to overheat, dropping him down the final order.
After taking time with his lead engineer, Andy Miller, to best understand the intricacies of the BMW 330i M Sport he races with West Surrey Racing this season, the pair came up with a good baseline set-up ahead of the Oulton Park weekend, which has coincided with an upswing in performances and race results, leaving him confident about his chances this weekend.
“It will be interesting going back to Thruxton with half a season’s worth of experience in the BMW 330i M Sport,” said Jelley. “I feel we have learned a lot since we were last there and Andy [Miller] and I have a better understanding of the car, even though we weren’t bad pace-wise in May. It is handling more to my liking, so all things are pointing towards a good weekend. We’ve found a set-up that seems to work at all sorts of circuits and that can be seen in our results at Oulton Park and Knockhill, so we think it will work at Thruxton as well.
“The car is more suited to these faster, open circuits, so we should be able to show the pace off. The 3-series has had a lot of success there so anything is possible, and it would be a great circuit at which to carry on my podium streak. We had some unfortunate issues there to start the season, so I think there is a lot to be optimistic about.”
Jelley and his team-mates will head out on track for two 60-minute free practice sessions on Saturday, 28 August, before qualifying that afternoon at 1445, with live streaming available on itv.com/btcc.
The first of three 16-lap contests is set for 1140 on Sunday, 29 August, followed up at 14:15 and 17:35, with live coverage available throughout the day free to air in the UK on ITV4.