ARDEN DUO SUFFER DURING STOP-START DAY
After a one-month break, the GP2 Series resumed today on the challenging dockside roads of the Valencia street circuit. It was difficult for all drivers to settle into a rhythm, with two red flags interrupting free practice and another two being brandished during qualifying. The last of them caused the session to be abandoned with about one minute still to run.
Arden duo Jolyon Palmer and Josef Kral were unable to summon their team's customary competitiveness and thus face a challenging afternoon tomorrow, in what is likely to be fierce heat. They qualified 17th and 22nd respectively for the opening race and Kral's preparations were particularly badly affected: the Czech missed part of this morning's session after he spun and stalled on the circuit, an incident that triggered the first of the day's four red flags.
"Practice was frustrating, because of the red-flag interruptions and constant traffic. I felt there was still quite a bit of time to come, but the circuit was very busy again during qualifying. It's a long circuit and in theory there should be space for everybody, but we all seemed to end up in a bunch. That's racing, I guess. I managed one reasonable lap, but had to pass another car at the final corner and that cost me a few tenths. My starting position isn't great, but then it's not a disaster, either. I can score points from 17th if I drive a steady, intelligent race and that is my target."
"The track was slippery in free practice and I got some dirt on my tyres when I ran slightly wide - that's what caused me to spin at Turn 14. I stalled when I tried to rejoin, so that was that. Qualifying was tough because I had so little preparation time. I wasn't up to speed on my first set of tyres and then the red flag came out when I switched to fresh rubber. I only had time for one more lap after that and it wasn't the best. Like Jolyon, though, I believe I can score points tomorrow. I need to blend aggression with common sense, but I relish a challenge..."