KRAL TAKES STELLAR PODIUM FINISH, PALMER MAKES MORE PROGRESS
It has taken Arden driver Josef Kral just two races to record his first podium finish of the 2011 GP2 Asia season. Third on the grid for today's sprint event in Abu Dhabi, the Czech ran fourth from the start but moved up to second after rivals Giedo van de Garde (Addax) and Sam Bird (iSport) hit trouble. The Dutchman was ordered to serve a drive-through penalty, because his team committed an indiscretion on the grid, while Bird spun into retirement. Kral didn't waste the opportunity he'd been given and went on to finish second, the maiden podium of his fledgling GP2 career.
Team-mate Jolyon Palmer spent much of the race embroiled in the customary intensity of midfield, but reached the chequered flag for the second time in as many days. As in yesterday's race, he finished the race in a better position than he'd started it -- 12th, in this instance -- but the most important thing was to get more GP2 miles under his belt. In that respect, it has been a very positive weekend for the English rookie.
"Despite the result, it was quite a difficult race. I didn't make a good start and Giedo van der Garde overtook both me and Sam Bird. I tried to push hard, but I was also trying to conserve my tyres for when I really needed them. After a few laps van der Garde was handed a penalty, which moved me up to third, and all the time I was trying to catch Bird, or at least push him into making a mistake. I could see he was struggling a little and with about 10 laps to go his car got away from him. Even when I was second, though, I faced huge pressure. I was still trying to look after my tyres but Marcus Ericsson was right behind me, breathing down my neck. I didn't make any mistakes, though, and second place is a great way to wrap up a promising first weekend of the season. I'm now looking forward to Bahrain, where I hope we can do at least as well."
"I learned some important lessons today, not least the art of tyre management. I made another good start, gaining a couple of places, but lost out when I had to run wide to avoid Romain Grosjean, who had been knocked into a spin just ahead. My immediate response was to push as hard as I could to claw back lost ground, but that took its toll on my rear tyres and I began to suffer significant degradation. After that I had to consolidate and did my best to defend my position. I was happy enough to hang on to 12 th, which represents progress, and I have learned some more valuable lessons. It's a good platform on which to build ahead of next weekend's races in Bahrain."