Despite power steering problems trying to deny him, Derek Palmer Jr secured the first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship points for Support Our Paras Racing at Snetterton.
A points-paying top-15 finish had evaded the Infiniti squad in the first half of the marque’s maiden BTCC season, but a chaotic second encounter at Norfolk’s Snetterton 300 circuit changed that statistic as Palmer Jr netted 15th place when Tom Ingram‘s Toyota slowed on the last lap with a puncture.
The race was one that the 28-year-old Scot later said was tougher to achieve than expected, as power steering issues made navigating right-handers at the 300 circuit a tiresome challenge.
“We had no power steering turning right, and maximum power steering turning left, which was far from ideal … and knackering,” Palmer Jr explained afterwards.
“In fact, I did the whole race without power steering because I felt it go on the warm-up lap. I was stewed in the car this morning, so thankfully we ran with the windows open a bit in Race 2, otherwise I think I’d have passed out with the effort.
“Through the long sweeping right-hander at Coram, and through the right-hander at Turn 1, I was being mullered by the two cars behind me. I was able to fight them off for most of the race, but the more tired I got the easier it became for them to close up on me.”
The result came following a baptism of fire for the Paras squad prior to the summer break, beginning with Infiniti pulling their backing from the squad after Thruxton and further setback occuring prior to Snetterton when Max Coates was unable to secure a budget to continue after one BTCC meeting.
Despite the achievement, Palmer admitted that 13th was possible, adding: “It was carnage out there over the opening couple of laps. It was a case of making sure I didn’t get caught up in somebody else’s accident.
“I’m obviously stoked to have got our best finish of the season, and score our first overall championship points having finished 15th, but it should really have been 13th … or better.
“Eventually they got passed because they were able to get the run on me on the approach to the Hairpin.
“It’s the team’s best result of the season, so I’m pleased with that: I’m just sorry I couldn’t have done a bit more for the boys.”
The performance also moved Palmer Jr himself up to second overall in the Jack Sears Championship for rookies, albeit still 82 points behind Power Maxed Racing‘s Josh Cook.