Circuit De Catalunya
Kral 10th After Quiet Race, Second Stop Slows Palmer
Josef Kral scored Arden International’s best result in the opening GP2 Series race in Barcelona, with a solid run to 10th place. The Czech ran in the top 10 from the start and fought his way back there after dropping to 14th in the wake of his mandatory tyre stop.
Kral was engaged in a fierce late-race duel with Fabio Leimer (Rapax) and Stefan Coletti (Trident), losing a place to the former but then passing the latter to maintain 10th place.
Team-mate Jolyon Palmer made an early tyre stop, which dropped him to the back of the field, and later pitted again en route to 19th.
Two safety car interruptions apart, it was a quiet afternoon by GP2 standards. The race was neutralised within seconds of the start, after Luca Filippi (Super Nova) spun into the pit wall, and again when Esteban Gutierrez (ART) and Michael Herck (Coloni) tangled on the 21st of 37 laps.
“I made a very good start and left the drama well behind me. When the safety car pulled in, I was able to run comfortably in ninth place, although I was suffering from quite a bit of understeer. I made my tyre stop slightly later than originally planned and that probably cost me time, because I stayed out a bit too long on tyres that were past their best. There weren’t many opportunities to pass when I rejoined, so I just did the best I could. We will analyse the data overnight to see where we’re losing pace and hopefully we’ll be in a good position to score points in the sprint race, as we did in Turkey.”
“That was a pretty bad afternoon, not least because our two-stop strategy didn’t pay off. My start wasn’t good, but I had decent pace in the middle of the race when I was running in clean air. The two safety cars slowed average speeds, so tyre degradation wasn’t actually as severe as it had been last time out in Istanbul. My second tyre stop dropped me to the back of the field, but I was able to recover a few positions. The bottom line, though, is that I need to qualify better. I started too far back today and that obviously has a knock-on effect for tomorrow’s race, too.”