Stephen Jelley enjoyed easily his best weekend to date in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship as the 2009 season kicked off at Brands Hatch.
The former single-seater racer picked up just 14 points during his debut campaign at the wheel of the Team RAC BMW 320si, although pole position during the final round of the season at Brands Hatch showed the progress that had been made as he acclimatised to tin-top competition.
Despite going off in the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend, Jelley qualified inside the top ten and finished the opening race in seventh place, before a storming drive in race two saw him finish fourth – securing his best ever finish in the BTCC in the process to take his tally to within two of his 2008 total.
“We have a very quick car and moved forward from our qualifying position which is very positive,” he said. “A fourth and a seventh position are good points results for me.
“I am clearly in a better place than I was 12 months ago and am confident for the season that lay ahead.”
However, the final race of the weekend would end in early disappointment when he was involved in an incident with Rob Collard on the way from Druids down to Graham Hill Bend, which left him with terminal suspension damage.
“The biggest mistake I made was taking my life in my own hands by going round the outside of someone like Rob,” he told the official series website. “It was a realistic move, I'd got a run on him and he should have given me a bit of room. If he had there'd have never been contact.”