Podium reward for team player Jelley
Stephen Jelley broke his Thruxton silverware duck with a race three podium last time out, securing his best ever result at the Hampshire speed bowl and further consolidating his place in the top ten in the BTCC standings.
“Considering where we qualified, it’s really positive,” said Jelley. “I don’t know how many points we scored, but at Snetterton we had loads of pace and we didn’t get the points we deserved, and here we didn’t have loads of pace and got some points.
“It’s sort of levelling out, but I’m really pleased to get a podium at Thruxton because it’s been a bit of a bogey track for me and it’s not a rear-wheel-drive circuit, so to come out with a podium is pretty good.”
As noted, the Leicestershire native has not had the best of records at Thruxton, with a ninth place finish the highlight of the championship’s first visit to the circuit earlier in the year. Qualifying was looking like a continuation of that form, with the Team BMW driver unable to hook up a decent lap during the 30-minute session, securing 16th on the grid.
“Qualifying was disappointing,” he continued. “The times are so close, a tenth of a second would have moved me from 16th to sixth. It’s just so competitive in that midfield and we just didn’t do the lap while others did.”
He shadowed home Colin Turkington in the first two bouts, letting his Team BMW stablemate through in the second contest, as Jelley secured 11th in each encounter.
Jelley’s rear-wheel drive BMW got a lightning start to the reverse grid final race from pole position, before the unstoppable Honda of Josh Cook passed for the lead into the final chicane at the end of lap two. The Team BMW man also let Turkington by on the following tour, but third place and a podium still represented Jelley’s best result around the UK’s fastest circuit.
“We got a great launch, but by Church I was having to go defensive,” concluded Stephen. “I Banzai attacked on the opening lap, there’s no way you could push any harder, he [Josh Cook] was still reeling me in. We had lap one, but Cook was just so fast around here, and we just can’t defend against it.
“Then I did the thing and let Colin [Turkington] through, we just did it in a nice tidy fashion, so we didn’t lose any lap time and brought it home.”
The BTCC returns for the penultimate weekend of the 2022 season on the 24/25 September for round 25, 26 & 27 of the championship.