GP2

Asia: Abu Dhabi: Arden race 1 report

KRAL SCORES POINTS, PALMER GAINS VITAL EXPERIENCE

Josef Kral got his GP2 Asia campaign off to a fruitful start at the Yas Marina circuit, Abu Dhabi, this afternoon, taking his Arden International Dallara to sixth place. The young Czech had pledged to keep his nose clean and bring home some points -- and he was as good as his word. He will line up third for tomorrow's sprint race.

A top-eight finish was always going to be a hard task for team-mate Jolyon Palmer, after yesterday's qualifying difficulties condemned him to 18th on the grid, but the 20-year-old drove intelligently to finish 14th in his maiden GP2 event.

Both drivers did well to avoid a startline pile-up that stopped the race and caused a 30-minute interruption.

Josef:

"That wasn't so bad and I'm happy to have finished in the points. It's a pity I stalled in the pits during my tyre stop, but that's the only mistake I made and I will learn from it. I pushed as hard as I dared, but it was quite difficult because nobody really knew how the new Pirelli tyres were going to perform over a race stint. I think we managed the tyre situation quite well, though, and generally the car felt good. It was hard, though, to maintain a good balance over 33 laps. Tomorrow's race is shorter and I'm starting from third, so there is every reason to aim for a podium finish. I'd like to thank everyone at Arden for helping me start the season so strongly. I am determined to reach the top step of the podium and feel that is definitely achievable on the evidence of what the team and I have achieved so far."

Jolyon:

"I made a good start, but picked up some front-wing damage quite early on and that really hampered my progress. My long first stint didn't work out too well, because other teams derived greater benefit from an earlier switch to fresh tyres, but despite everything this has been a very good experience. I managed to pull off a few good moves and the result would have been better still if Michael Herck hadn't barged me off the road towards the end. My starting position is a little bit better tomorrow and today's experience will hopefully enable me to move forward once more in the race."

-source: arden

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