West Sussex GP2 racer Jolyon Palmer experienced a dramatic start to the 2013 GP2 season in Malaysia last weekend, fighting his way from the back of the grid superbly in both races to finish sixth and ninth respectively.
Jolyon, who lives in Southwater, is competing in his third season of the F1 feeder series this year and has switched to the British team Carlin after a strong campaign in 2012 which included a win at the showpiece Monaco event.
However Jolyon made a lightning start as the lights went out and managed to survive heavy contact from DAMS driver Marcus Ericsson to overtake a string of cars and gain 10 places by the end of the opening lap. He continued to push throughout the race and thanks to a late pit stop strategy was leading the field at the midway point.
On lap 20 he pitted and re-emerged in sixth place, where he remained until the chequered flag to secure a hard-earned eight championship points.
"I made a great start and had a good first two laps and then I just focused on pushing as hard as possible," said Jolyon. "We had a good strategy and the pit stop was perfect.”
For Sunday’s Sprint Race Jolyon was due to start in third position thanks to the championship’s reverse grid system. He stalled his car on the green flag lap which forced him to start at the back of the field from the pit lane, but produced another stirring comeback drive to end ninth and just one place off a second points finish.
"Unfortunately I stalled at the start so had to start from the pit lane,” said Jolyon. “The pace was very strong though and I managed to pass a lot of cars and finish ninth. I think one more lap and I would have been in the points.
It's good to know that if I had started third we could have won the race comfortably but at the same time it's frustrating to have dropped points. We are definitely in good shape for Bahrain though."