Heading into the Silverstone Race Weekend for Rounds 5 & 6 of the Mini Challenge UK, CQR’s own Ben Palmer couldn’t be sure what the weather was going to do, and what challenges he’d be presented with over the course of the weekend.
Saturday soon made intentions clear with a very wet day - downpours continuing throughout Qualifying. Ben would put the car 7th on grid in the tricky conditions, soon to be promoted to 5th place after two drivers ahead were excluded from the results.
Ben would get a strong start in Race 1, quickly taking advantage of a mistake by Jac Maybin at Copse, but contact with Nathan Harrison followed, putting the #27 car into the gravel - a stewards enquiry followed, but it was deemed a racing incident.
It was a good thing too, as Ben soon caught Championship leader James Gornall, overtook him at the end of the hangar straight, defended a late charge from Jac Maybin, kept the lead, and took his first win in the series! A great achievement after the aim for the weekend was a maiden podium.
For Race 2, Ben would line up 6th on the grid due to the reverse grid, behind the likes of Gornall, Zelos and Maybin. The three of them would come to blows half-way round the first lap, as Maybin clipped Zelos, and was collected by Gornall - the latter would retire towards the end of the race due to resulting damage.
Ben set about chasing down race leader Rawlings, making the move for the race lead at the half way point. Despite a great fight through to 2nd place from Nathan Harrison, Ben would hold the top spot until the very end, becoming the first driver this season to take both race wins in one meeting!
This now puts him 3rd in the Championship behind James Gornall and Nathan Harrison, and has definitely cemented him as one to watch for the rest of the season. Considering that it’s his first season in the car, Ben has already taken strides from the disappointment of Oulton Park to be right at the sharp end early on - we’re all very excited to follow his journey and see what he can achieve!
Pictures courtesy of Chazlington Media
RACE 1 Stream
RACE 2 Stream