Circuit De Catalunya
Frustration For Kral, More Useful Experience For Palmer
Jolyon Palmer was the only Arden International driver to finish this morning’s GP2 Series sprint in Barcelona, the Englishman starting 18th and finishing 17th as he continues his apprenticeship in grand prix racing’s ante-chamber.
For team-mate Josef Kral it was a case of what might have been. The Czech moved up from ninth to seventh and spent the second half of the race putting pressure on Trident driver Stefano Coletti. With two laps to go Kral passed his rival around the outside on the approach to Turn One, but his tenure of sixth place was fleeting. Coletti tried to hold his ground and the two cars collided, both ending up in the gravel and out of contention.
For the second time in as many days, the field spent the early part of the race behind the safety car: it was scrambled after a high-speed collision sidelined Jules Bianchi (ART) and pre-race championship leader Giedo van de Garde (Addax) on the run down to the first corner.
“The start was dramatic because the big accident happened right in front of me, although fortunately I missed it. I was running behind Charles Pic during the safety car period, but he had a broken front wing and dropped a long way back before the restart, which obviously cost me time, too. I wanted to save my tyres when the race resumed, a tactic that initially cost me time but seemed to pay dividends towards the end, when I began closing on the others. I caught Stefano Coletti, but picked up big understeer while I was following him. I finally managed to get ahead, but it was a bit tight and we ended up going off. This hasn’t been a great weekend, but I’ve already put it behind me. I’m now 100 per cent focused on Monaco, where hopefully I will at least score some points.”
“That was a terrible way to end a disappointing weekend. The car didn’t feel quick at the start and I was still suffering terrible tyre degradation towards the end, which explains why I was so far back. We have a lot of ground to make up during the short break before Monaco, but we have time to analyse the data and I’m confident we’ll be able to improve the car next weekend.”