Infiniti's Derek Palmer has praised his Support Our Paras Racing team's efforts in providing the BTCC rookie a Q50 challenger that he believes was good enough for 16th today.

After qualifying 24th on the grid for his debut BTCC race, Palmer admitted that the team's Infiniti Q50 had barely turned half-a-dozen laps prior to this morning's FP1 session.

Despite the team's difficult start to life - which has already resulted in Infiniti only fielding one car this weekend - Palmer is sure the Q50 has plenty of potential left to unlock once the mileage builds.

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"We're not too far away from the guys the in front," Palmer told "I think the ideal lap would have put us around 16th actually.

"On that lap at the end - I'm not sure what happened - I think someone might have thought the session ended early coming out of Clearways, so it all kicked off in front of me.

"I think we're there or thereabouts. We're definitely not disappointed with how it's gone so far. We could have been a bit further up if I got the lap together - the speed is there though. I reckon we could have done a mid-49 without too much hassle actually.

"I think that we've really got potential. I'm so proud of the guys, to see how far they've come over the past four/five months is awesome. They were so professional today."

Palmer gradually notched up a healthy total of laps throughout the day and despite the conditions transpiring against the squad's progress, the Infiniti driver was able to begin focussing on the RWD machines balance.

"That was probably the most difficult conditions - combined with not knowing the car - I've ever had. We kept at it in FP2 and kept improving in time for qualifying, where we made another step forward," the Infiniti driver continued.

"The balance is good. Where we're good is on initial turn in but we're struggling through the mid-corner and the transition out of the corner - that's where we're lacking. You can really feel it coming out of Clearways.

"Also, I'm learning the car as well. I'm trying different things to get faster. Every time you go out it's a bit of an adventure right now to see how you can make the car work for you. But it's been getting better and better and that's what we want to see.

"We want to keep improving, get inside that top-20 and get racing amongst the pack."